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More than any other single painter, Jackson Pollock demonstrated that American artists had at last equaled if not surpassed their European counterparts. As his peer and rival Willem de Kooning, said: "Jackson broke the ice." Championed by art critics and mocked by the popular press, Pollock achieved an unprecedented degree of celebrity for a modern American painter. Some critics considered his webs of interlacing lines as "mere unorganized explosions of random energy." Others saw his work as a seductive labyrinth or "a luna park full of fireworks, pitfalls, surprises, and delights." The debate has continued ever since.
Previous page: Jackson Pollock in his barn studio, summer-fall 1950. Photo: Hans Namuth. ©1998 Hans Namuth Ltd.