Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock
Untitled, um 1949
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Jackson Pollock
Untitled, um 1949

Untitled, ca.1949
Paper, enamel, and aluminum paint on fiberboard, 78.5 x 57.5 cm
Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

As a technique, Jackson Pollock’s Action painting represented a break with tradition. He placed his painting surface – in this case a collage of cloth and cardboard – flat on the ground and covered it first with several coats of paint, before completing the composition with his famous ‘drip’ technique, a process by which he let paint dribble or splash from the brush or directly from the tube or the paint can in rotating movements over the canvas. His pictures are protocols of his actions. Nonetheless, the references to tradition made in his work should not be overlooked: indeed, Pollock was quite consciously exploring notions of space, of ‘in front’ and ‘behind’. As such, he saw himself in line with the development of abstract art that began with Monet’s late work and with Kandinsky.

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Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock

1912 Cody, Wyoming – 1956, Springs, New York

The New York-trained American painter is hailed as the leading exponent of Action Painting, whereby he regarded the act of painting as a ritualistic element of the creative process. From 1947 onwards Pollock developed a completely new method of painting whereby he dripped paint in a gestural manner, flinging and pouring it over the usually unprimed canvases that were placed flat on the ground. He also incorporated materials such as sand, wood and broken glass. The rhythmic, dynamic application of paint created dense webs of multilayered streaks and colour textures; Pollock’s ‘all-over’ compositions express a dance-like energy and allow figurative associations. In his late work he returned to a style of painting involving mythical figures that reflected his early studies under Thomas Hart Benton.

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