Paul Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 - August 11, 1956) was an American painter and an important figure in the abstract expressionism movement.
He was well known for his technique of pouring or splashing liquid household paint onto a horizontal surface ("drop technique"), which enabled him to view and paint his canvases from all angles. It was also called all-over painting and "action painting" because he covered the entire canvas and used the power of his whole body to paint, often in a frenetic dance style. This extreme form of abstraction shared the critics: some praised the immediacy of creation, while others mocked the random effects. In 2016, Pollock's painting, titled Number 17A, reportedly grossed $ 200 million in a private purchase.
Pollock was a withdrawn and volatile personality, and struggled with alcoholism for most of his life. In 1945 he married the artist Lee Krasner, who had an important influence on his career and legacy. Pollock died in an alcohol-related car accident while driving, aged 44. In December 1956, four months after his death, Pollock received a retrospective memorial exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. A larger, more comprehensive exhibition of his work took place there in 1967. In 1998 and 1999, his work won large-scale retrospective exhibitions at MoMA and the Tate in London.
Like other members of the New York School, Jackson Pollock was influenced in his early work by Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso, and seized on the Surrealists’ concept of the unconscious as the source of art. In the late 1930s Pollock introduced imagery based on totemic or mythic figures, ideographic signs, and ritualistic events, which have been interpreted as pertaining to the buried experiences and cultural memories of the psyche.
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246 | Number 19, 1948
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