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Jackson Pollock, First Dripped Artist.

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Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock was an American painter widely considered one of the most important figures of the abstract expressionist movement of the 20th century.

Early Years

Jackson Pollock was born in Cody, Wyoming (January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956), the youngest of five sons of Stella May McClure and Leroy Pollock.

The family left CodyWyoming, when Jackson was only 11 months. Over the next 16 years, The family moved nine times between California and Arizona. In 1928 they moved to Los Angeles. Pollock enrolled at Manual Arts High School, where he met Frederick John de St. Vrain Schwankovsky, a painter and illustrator who gave him his first art lessons.

Pollock Learn Art.

At 18 years old, Pollock left his home to join his brother Charles who was studying art in NYC; Jackson enrolled at the Art Students League under his brother’s teacher, the regional painter Thomas Hart Benton. (Jackson dropped his first name, Paul, when he went to New York in 1930.) He studied life drawing, painting, and composition with Benton for the next two and one-half years. Pollock lived in poverty, first with Charles and, by the fall of 1934, with his brother Sanford and his wife until 1942.

Pollock’s work was the expressionist vision of the Amepainterainter Albert Pinkham Ryder. Such as Going West (1934–35), Pollock used photographs of Cody.

Pollock’s Addiction to Alcohol

Pollack drank and smoked excessively in 1937, he received psychiatric treatment for alcoholism, and in 1938, he had a nervous breakdown and had to be institutionalized for four months. Between 1939 and 1940, he was in treatment with two successive Jungian psychoanalysts who used Pollock’s drawings in therapy sessions. Characteristic paintings from this period include Bird (c. 1941), Male and Female (c. 1942), and Guardians of the Secret (1943).

During this period, his work took a new path, influenced by Spanish artists Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, Diego Rivera, and the Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco. Exploration of the unconscious also influenced his works. His visit to the MoNA‘s 1941 Indian Art of United States show and attending a demo of Navarro sand painting dropping opened new ways to explore his work. By 1944, Arshile Gorky and Hans Hoffman were among the artists using the dripped technique. But Pollock constantly experimented and created, leaving out all images to express the un-conscience.

Pollock’s big Break.

Most art critics rejected Pollock’s artworks; in 1943, Peggy Guggenheim was the first to recognize his art and championed the avant-guarde artist. In November of that year, she held a show at her Art of This Century gallery in New York. Later, she commissioned him a 19-foot-long mural forpainterw york Townhouse called Mural (c. 1943–44).

In October 1945, Pollock married American painter Lee Krasner (October 27, 1908 – June 19, 1984). She greatly influenced his work, and in November, they moved to the Pollock-Krasner House and Studio on Long Island, NY. Her studio was in the house; Pollock’s was at a barn. Pollock began his paintings with totemic and mythological subjects, then painted over them with layers so thick that the original forms were mostly indistinguishable; by 1947, Pollock was spreading his canvases on the floor, and he used artist oils enamel house paint and aluminum radiator paint. He used sticks, trowels, and palette knives, sometimes string, sand, or nails. The narrative and title disappeared, and he numbered his paintings. Pollock controlled his flow of paint and distribution of color.

Pollock’s art emphasizes the physical process of painting. He often worked on a large scale and used his entire body to apply the paint rather than just his hands. This gave his paintings a sense of movement and energy and reflected his belief that the physical act of painting was an essential part of the creative process.

Pollock had a lot of pushback to his drip paintwork; by art critics, it was described as a child painter’s contour map of the battle of Gettysburg and a mop of tangled hair and bodily spillage… but some did find his work original and influential and championed his radical departure from known art. The Museum of Modern Art and the art critic Clement Greenberg claimed Jackson Pollock to be the best avant-guarde American painter of the 20th century. In 1949, Life magazine ran a feature on Pollock, calling him “Jack the Dripper” and dubbing him the “greatest living painter in the United States.”

Pollock became a sensation thanks to an article about the controversy of his work and photographer Hans Namuth’s pictures of Pollock painting in 1950; art critic Harold Rosenberg called this kind of work action painting. Abstract-expressionism began to describe the work of the artists who pursued abstraction to convey emotion. He will briefly return to representation with a series of images from 1951-1952 made with black enamel and a turkey baster.

Jackson Pollock’s Death.

In his last years, he did work sporadically, struggling with alcoholism and infidelities, putting a significant strain on his marriage. His previous paintings were in 1955. Pollock painted Scent and Search, his last two paintings. He did not paint at all in 1956.

In 1956 in a car accident while driving under the influence, less than a mile from his house, Jackson Pollock went off the road and flipped the car, killing himself and a passenger, Edith Metzger, and injuring his mistress, Ruth Kligman. He was only 44 years old at the time of his death.

In December 1956, just a few months after his death, Pollock was given a memorial retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. His work was held there in 1967 and 1998, and 1999.

Final Word. 

Pollack is the emblem of post-war America, a country no longer looking to Europe for the latest art movement but defining its own; Pollock symbolized a new way of thinking about art, removing narrative to leave emotion, senses, and body and no longer looking out, but searching in. He influences a whole new generation of young artists. His widow Lee Krasner spent the rest of her life managing his estate and legacy. The couple is buried in Green River Cemetery in Springs. Today, a painting from Pollock’s “drip period” is over $100 million at auction.