See also:  [Abstract Expressionism (ab-ex)]
                  [Lee Krasner (ab-ex; Mrs. Jackson Pollock)]
                  [Harold Rosenberg] (art critic)

                  [Art films]

Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock (b.1912, Cody, Wyoming; d.1956, East Hampton) aka "Paul Jackson Polloc" One of the most important painters of all time, not only for his original works. But, for freeing us from the paint brush, stick, etc.

An Important Article

(This is something that I had been saying for years, it is nice that someone in authority has said it so elloquently. Enjoy) [Ref: Dictionary of Modern Painting, Pp.293-4, Francoise Choay]


"... With Jackson Pollock the painting of the United States freed itself for the first time from European dominance and took a leading part in the history of western art. He has become a symbol of American painting, with its violence and huge scale, a representative figures as
Herman Melville is for the nvoel, Walt Whitman for poetry, and Frank Lloyd Wright in architecture, whose works like his are stamped by the imensities of the American spaces and their brash statment of human problems. Pollock, too, was the embodiment of what the American art critic Harold Rosenberg called "action painting"; ie, painting that is produced by rapid gestures on a canvas, laid flat on the floor of the studio, with un-precedented techniques such as "dripping", which replaced the limited area of the easel canvas by a new space filled by he new space filled by the human body movement. He has given his own explanation of his working methods: My painting does not come from the easel. I hardly ever stretch my canvas before painting. I prefer to tack the unstretched canvas to the hard wall or the floor. I need the resistance of a hard surface. On the floor, I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk round it, work from the four sides and literally be *in* the painting. ... I continue to get further away from the usual painter's tools such as easel, palette, brushes, etc. I prefer sticks, trowels, knives, and dripping fluid paint or a heavy impasto with sand, broken glass and other foreign matter added.


"... 1930 [was] an important time for his discovery of Red Indiant art (a technique of [painting pictogram imagery on sand that haunted him until his death) and the Mexican mural painters (
Diego Rivera, Jose Orozco, and David Siquerios). SKetch books survive from this period of drawings after the European masters, Michelangelo, Tintoretto, and El Greco, which show a taste for drama and movement and considerable mastery of classical draughtsmanship.


"... This is the moment to clarify the ambiguity that the
Sur-realists have allowed to confuse their connexion with Pollock. Max Ernst even going so far as to claim priority in using the "drip" technique, which consists of painting with pierced through paint flows. In fact, Pollock worked out a method of controlled automatism to produce a manual dexterity that would not hinder the immedicy and speed of free expression. 'Dripping' was his chosen form of calligraphy. For the sur-realists, on the other hand, automatism was not connected with any kind of technique: It was a haphazard, un-controlable method of investigation, just as Max Ernst's 'drippings' were a game of chance.


"After YEARS [emphasis mine!] of exercises and experiments in which he had been encouraged since 1944, by his wife,
Lee Krasner, the artist, Pollock succeeded in mastering his calligraphy in 1947. From then until 1950, stretches a series of masterpieces in which violence alternates with tenderness, brilliant with more subdued harmonies: "Cathedral" (1947), "Number One" (1948), "Summer Time" (1948), "Number One" (1949), "Lavender Mist" (19450, "Autumn Rhythm" (1950), etc. THe whole picture area became a space for the courting of a network of lines whose varying thickness immediately suggests the rhythm of their destination. Its scale is vast, but each element is an integral part of the whole where it is organic, never decorative. This phase ended with "Number 29", painted on glass and shells, pebbles, and bits of metal grating, which was both an end and a beginning. Pollock's skill was recorded in 1950 in a short film by the photographer Hans Namuth." [Ref: Dictionary of Modern Painting, Pp.293-4, Francoise Choay] Jackson's statment about "French maths", "american physics" -- it is absurd. [Ref: Dictionary of Modern Painting, Pp.293-4, Francoise Choay]

Important works