Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock

Style: Abstract Expressionism

Lived: January 28, 1912 - August 11, 1956 (20th century)

Nationality: USA

JACKSON POLLOCK'S YOUTH

Paul Jackson Pollock was born January 28, 1912, in Cody, Wyoming (USA). Pollock grew up in Arizona and California and began study painting the Manual Arts High School, Los Angeles in 1928. In 1930 Jackson Pollock left for New York where he studied under Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League. In these years Pollock's art was mainly influenced by several Mexican muralists, like José Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera.


JACKSON POLLOCK AS AN ARTIST

Pollock’s first solo show was held at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery, New York, in 1943. Guggenheim gave him a contract that lasted through 1947, permitting him to devote all his time to painting.

By the mid 1940s he was painting in a completely abstract manner, and the `drip and splash' style for which he is best known emerged with some abruptness in 1947. Instead of using the traditional easel he affixed his canvas to the floor or the wall and poured and dripped his paint from a can; instead of using brushes he manipulated it with `sticks, trowels or knives' (to use his own words), sometimes obtaining a heavy impasto by an admixture of `sand, broken glass or other foreign matter'. This manner of Action painting had in common with Surrealist theories of automatism that it was supposed by artists and critics alike to result in a direct expression or revelation of the unconscious moods of the artist.

During the 1950s Pollock continued to produce figurative or quasi-figurative black and white works and delicately modulated paintings in rich impasto as well as the paintings in the new all-over style. He was strongly supported by advanced critics, but was also subject to much abuse and sarcasm as the leader of a still little comprehended style; in 1956 Time magazine called him `Jack the Dripper'.


JACKSON POLLOCK'S LAST YEARS

By the 1960s, however, Jackson Pollock was generally recognized as the most important figure in the most important movement of this century in American painting, but a movement from which artists were already in reaction (Post-Painterly Abstraction). His unhappy personal life (he was an alcoholic) and his premature death in a car crash contributed to his legendary status. In 1944 Pollock married Lee Krasner (1911-84), who was an Abstract Expressionist painter of some distinction, although it was only after her husband's death that she received serious critical recognition. He was killed in an automobile accident on August 11, 1956, in the Springs.

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