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Spotlight on Jackson Pollock

  • 2 min read

As a new theory that Jackson Pollock hid his name in his 1943 work, Mural is published we take a close look at the life and work of Jackson Pollock one of the best known Abstract Impressionist painters.

Henry Adams in his book ‘Tom and Jack: The Intertwined Lives of Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock’, to be published in November by Bloomsbury Press has suggested Jackson Pollock hid his name amid the swirls and torrents of a legendary 1943 mural.

The theory has met with mixed reactions from other Jackson Pollock experts ranging from no way" to "far-fetched" to "maybe." It may not be possible to answer the question definitively unless scientists use X-ray scanning or some other method to trace which pigments were put down first, and at the moment there are no plans to do such an analysis.

Mural, commissioned by the collector Peggy Guggenheim for her New York City apartment, is already the stuff of legend. In the 2000 movie Pollock having stared perplexedly at a giant empty canvas for months, he executes Mural in a single session the night before it's due to be delivered. This (standard) version of events, was originally advanced by Pollock's wife, the artist Lee Krasner, reinforces the image of Pollock as an anguished, spontaneous genius. However the art critic Francis V. O'Connor has debunked the story, saying Pollock probably executed Mural during the summer of 1943, not in one night in late December.

Jackson Pollock's best known paintings only counted for four years of his work. The intensity and scale of Pollock's finest abstract works led him to be regarded as one of the most important American artists of his day, and his paintings remain incredibly popular to this day.

He struggled with alcoholism all of his life and by 1954 his alcoholism and depression had ended his artistic career and he died in a car crash two years later.

Image Credit

University of Iowa Museum of Art, Gift of Peggy Guggenheim 1959.6 / © 2009 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / ARS, NY, (http://microsite.smithsonianmag.com/content/jackson-pollock/pollock.html)

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