Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock was an abstract expressionist painter from America. Jackson Pollock, 1912-1956, American painter, was one of the leaders in Abstract Expressionism. He developed radical “drip painting” technique that still exists today in many contemporary artists’ work. Famous Pollock paintings include Convergence, Number 1, Number 8, Number 14 and Blue Poles. Pollock paintings inspired many contemporary artists, and his work is on show in leading art galleries around the world including National Gallery of Australia, Albright-Knox Art Gallery & Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Jackson Pollock had a unique method for creating his masterpieces, by circling around a huge canvas laid flat on the floor, as he would drip, pour and splash paints randomly on the canvas. This has since been termed action painting. Each painting would have large amounts of randomness, encouraged by his unconscious mind, with no consistent subject from one painting to the next. It was the birth of abstract painting as Pollock’s subconscious became unravelled in a fusion of works offering his freedom of imagination as a bizarre art form.

Convergence displays Pollock’s emotions in abstract form, and shows them to be wild, with his innovative, multi-levelled imagination on full show. It was the best art form that he could find to thoroughly represent his turbulent mind which both haunted him, but also drove him to his best art.

 Convergence - Jackson Pollock Prints, Posters, Paintings

This photograph of Jackson Pollock’s Convergence is courtesy of Wikipedia.

Jackson Pollock’s alcoholism and bouts of intensive depression added to his fame across America, as he continued to paint in order to break away and distract himself from his own social problems. Van Gogh and many other artists have done similar. He sought therapy through his novel approach of drip painting, which included Number 1 (Lavender Mist).

Pollock’s earlier paintings were predominantly in black and white including Number Twenty-Three, Echo and Number Seven. By 1952 he chose to switch back to his large-scale, full color formats with Convergence and Blue Poles.

To understand the importance of Jackson Pollock’s paintings in the development and popularity of modern art it is important to remember that in 1973, Blue Poles was purchased by the Australian Whitlam Government for the National Gallery of Australia for US $2 million (AU $1.3 million at the time of payment). At the time, this was the highest price ever paid for a modern painting.

In the conservative climate of the time, the purchase created a political and media scandal. The painting is now one of the most popular exhibits in the gallery, and is thought to be worth between $100 and $150 million, according to 2006 estimates. It was a centerpiece of the Museum of Modern Art’s 1998 retrospective in New York, the first time the painting had returned to America since its purchase.

The earliest purchases were clearly brave, but the owners now can enjoy the benefits with huge profits, though in most cases would be unwilling to sell. Most who own truly classic paintings will rarely sell them on, so the priceless tag is particularly suitable for many of Pollock’s most famous artworks.

In November 2006, Pollock’s No. 5, 1948 became the world’s most expensive painting, when it was sold privately to an undisclosed buyer for the sum of $140,000,000. The previous owner was film and music-producer David Geffen. It is rumored that the current owner is a German businessman and art collector.

Famous Jackson Pollock Paintings

The list below summarises the most significant art works from the career of Jackson Pollock.

  • Convergence
  • Blue Poles
  • Male and Female
  • Stenographic Figure
  • Mural
  • Moon-Woman Cuts the Circle
  • The She-Wolf
  • Blue (Moby Dick)
  • Troubled Queen
  • Eyes in the Heat
  • The Key
  • The Tea Cup Collection
  • Shimmering Substance, from The Sounds In The Grass
  • Portrait of H.M.
  • Full Fathom Five
  • Cathedral
  • Enchanted Forest
  • Lucifer
  • Painting
  • Number 5
  • Number 8
  • Composition (White, Black, Blue and Red on White)
  • Summertime: Number 9A
  • Number 1
  • Number 3
  • Number 10
  • Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist)
  • Mural on indian red ground, 1950
  • Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), 1950
  • Number 29, 1950
  • One: Number 31, 1950
  • No. 32
  • Number 7
  • Black & White
  • Portrait and a Dream
  • Easter and the Totem
  • Ocean Greyness
  • The Deep

Famous Jackson Pollock Quotes

Abstract painting is abstract. It confronts you. There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my pictures didn’t have any beginning or any end. He didn’t mean it as a compliment, but it was.

New needs need new techniques. And the modern artists have found new ways and new means of making their statements… the modern painter cannot express this age, the airplane, the atom bomb, the radio, in the old forms of the Renaissance or of any other past culture.

Today painters do not have to go to a subject matter outside of themselves. Most modern painters work from a different source. They work from within.

When I say artist I mean the man who is building things – creating molding the earth – whether it be the plains of the west – or the iron ore of Penn. It’s all a big game of construction – some with a brush – some with a shovel – some choose a pen.

My paintings do not have a center, but depend on the same amount of interest throughout.

The modern artist is working with space and time, and expressing his feelings rather than illustrating.

I’m very representational some of the time, and a little all of the time. But when you’re painting out of your unconscious, figures are bound to emerge.

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