From 1944 to 1945, Pollock made a group of eleven engravings (a type of print in which lines are incised into a metal plate with a sharp-pointed tool). He worked on them sporadically over several months at Atelier 17, a print workshop transplanted from Paris to New York during World War II by the British emigré printmaker Stanley William Hayter. Hayter encouraged automatist techniques influenced by Surrealist ideas, for example, moving the plate around while the engraving tool remains still, which allows for spontaneous generation of line and composition.
Pollock’s engravings were never shown during his lifetime. Ten years after his death, his widow Lee Krasner found them, along with nine of the eleven plates from which they were printed, in his barn studio; she donated them to MoMA in 1969.
Gallery label from Jackson Pollock: A Collection Survey, 1934-1954, November 22, 2015–May 1, 2016.