Pollock was born in Cody, Wyoming but was raised in Arizona and California. At Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, he was encouraged to pursue his interest in art. He studied Old Master paintings and mural paintings and participated in group exhibitions where he met his future wife Lee Krasner, a considerable artist in her own right. Soon his work came to the attention of Peggy Guggenheim (Guggenheim Museum) who became his patron and promoted his work to the public. He had his first solo exhibition in 1943.
In 1945 the Pollocks moved into a small house in The Springs on East Hampton, Long Island. In 1949 Life Magazine nominated him as the foremost painter of his generation. His career was cut short when he died in a car crash in 1956. To create his large paintings, Jackson Pollock employed techniques that included dripped enamel and aluminum paint, (mixed at times with sand or broken glass), onto canvas placed flat on the floor.
"The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through."
"Every good painter paints what he is."
"It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well. "
"The modern artist, it seems to me, is working and expressing an inner world in other words - expressing the energy, the motion and other inner forces."
"It doesn't make much difference how the paint is put on as long as something has been said. Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement"
A tortured American soul!
Location:The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
"I don't work from drawings or coloured sketches. My painting is direct. I usually paint on the floor. I enjoy working on a large canvas. I feel more at home, more at ease in a large area. Having the canvas on the floor, I feel nearer, more a part of the painting. This way I can walk around it, work from all four sides, and be in the painting." (Jackson Pollock ) Blue Poles is considered one of Pollock's finest works. It now hangs in the National Gallery of Australia.
Location:The Museum of Modern Art, New York
By all accounts Jackson Pollock was a difficult and intensive man and a ferocious painter. It is possible that this painting is actually a self-portrait. It is considered a fine example of his early work. At this time of his career, Pollock's major influence was Picasso and he struggled hard to move out of the Old Spaniard's shadow. The 'She-Wolf' even looks a bit like a Picasso painting. He once stated his goal to "create a 'parallel version' of Picasso."
Location:National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Jackson Pollock invented 'action painting'. It was a form of 'all-over' painting, pouring paint rather than using brushes and a palette, and abandoning all conventions of a central motif. He danced in semi-ecstasy over canvases spread across the floor, lost in his patternings, dripping and dribbling with total control. Was the result an accident or an expression of the subconscious mind? It has been suggested that Pollock was influenced by Native American sand paintings made by trickling thin lines of colored sand onto a horizontal surface.
Location:Philadelphia Museum of Art
"Jackson Pollock's painting Male and Female has long been recognized as a pivotal work in the artist's career. Completed around 1942 shortly after Pollock underwent Jungian analysis, the painting's imagery is generally attributed to the autonomic manifestation of Jungian archetypes. Consequently, Male and Female is reproduced in numerous scholarly publications, and is acclaimed as a significant step in Pollock's search for prelogical expression - one which eventually culminates in his drip paintings." (Suzette Doyon-Bernard)
Location:The Art Institute of Chicago
Pollock was a controversial painter with an uneven output. However, on some occasions he was bale to rise to moments of great originality. The Key is considered one of his finest early paintings.
Learning art through great artists and their paintings is fun and exciting. Our friend and resident artist Stefan Mager has kindly given this introduction to the art world.