Abstract Expressionist New York
October 3, 2010–April 25, 2011
Echo: Number 15, 1951 is a radical departure from Pollock’s earlier "drip" paintings. In contrast to the explosive energy and multidirectional force of One: Number 31, 1950, made the previous year, Echo: Number 15, 1951 has a lyrical economy, and, though abstract, the painting flirts with figuration. Pollock recognized this, and he wrote in a letter to a friend, “I’ve had a period of drawing on canvas in black—with some of my early images coming thru—think the non-objectivists will find them disturbing—and the kids who think it simple to splash a Pollock out.”
Abstract Expressionist New York: The Big Picture, October 3, 2010- April 25, 2011
Curator, Ann Temkin: Pollock made this painting in 1951. It’s a radical departure from the splendor of the drip paintings, which had brought him great fame just a year or so year before. Here he intentionally limits his palette to just black, a really inky black on raw canvas, and creates a lyrical calligraphic line that might recall Chinese ink painting.
Director, Glenn Lowry: Collector Ben Heller was the first owner of this painting. He bought it from Pollock soon after it was made.
Ben Heller: It’s so delicate. You see that almost face-like figure in the upper left-hand corner. You’ll see that and you'll see these other kind of movements. You can both say, "Gee whiz, that's like trained art but on the other hand, it is anti-trained art because it just seems to go anywhere and anyway, in its own particular rhythm or it's carrying itself along in some way all by itself. It's totally unstructured and totally structured. How you can do the two together is remarkable.