Jackson Pollock

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Pollock, Jackson,

1912–56, American painter, b. Cody, Wyo. He studied (1929–31) in New York City, mainly under Thomas Hart BentonBenton, Thomas Hart,
1889–1975, American regionalist painter, b. Neosho, Mo.; grandnephew of Sen. Thomas Hart Benton and son of Rep. Maecenas E. Benton. In 1906 and 1907 he attended the Art Institute of Chicago and at 19 went to Paris, where he remained for three years,
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, but he was more strongly influenced by A. P. RyderRyder, Albert Pinkham,
1847–1917, American painter, b. New Bedford, Mass. In 1867 his family moved to New York City. There he studied with W. E. Marshall, the engraver, and at the National Academy of Design, but he was largely self-taught.
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 and the Mexican muralists, especially SiqueirosSiqueiros, David Alfaro
, 1896–1974, Mexican painter, b. Chihuahua. Siqueiros was among Mexico's most original and eminent painters. His career as an artist was always related to his vigorous socialist revolutionary activities.
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. From 1938 to 1942, Pollock worked on the Federal Art Project in New York City. Affected by surrealismsurrealism
, literary and art movement influenced by Freudianism and dedicated to the expression of imagination as revealed in dreams, free of the conscious control of reason and free of convention.
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 and also by PicassoPicasso, Pablo
(Pablo Ruiz y Picasso) , 1881–1973, Spanish painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and ceramist, who worked in France. He is generally considered in his technical virtuosity, enormous versatility, and incredible originality and prolificity to have been the
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, he moved toward a highly abstract art in order to express, rather than illustrate, feeling. His experimentations led to the development of his famous "drip" technique, in which he energetically drew or "dripped" complicated linear rhythms onto enormous canvases, which were often placed flat on the floor. He sometimes applied paint directly from the tube, and at times also used aluminum paint to achieve a glittery effect. His vigorous attack on the canvas and intense devotion to the very act of painting led to the term "action painting." Pollock had become a symbol of the new artistic revolt, abstract expressionismabstract expressionism,
movement of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the mid-1940s and attained singular prominence in American art in the following decade; also called action painting and the New York school.
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, by the time he was killed in an automobile accident. His paintings are in many major collections, including museums in New York City, San Francisco, Dallas, and Chicago. Pollock was married to the painter Lee KrasnerKrasner, Lee
, 1911–84, American artist, b. Brooklyn. She studied with Hans Hofmann and became a leading figure in abstract expressionism along with her husband, Jackson Pollock.
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See H. Harrison, ed., Such Desperate Joy: Imagining Jackson Pollock (2001) and P. Karmel, ed., Jackson Pollock: Key Interviews, Articles, and Reviews (2002); catalogue raisonné, 4 vol., ed. by F. V. O'Connor and E. B. Thaw (1978, supplement 1995) and catalog ed. by K. Varnedoe and P. Karmel (1998); B. H. Friedman, Jackson Pollock: Energy Made Visible (1972, repr. 1995); J. Potter, To a Violent Grave: An Oral Biography of Jackson Pollock (1985); D. Solomon, Jackson Pollock: A Biography (1987); S. Naifeh and G. W. Smith, Jackson Pollock: An American Genius (1988); E. G. Landau, Jackson Pollock (1989); C. Ratcliff, The Fate of a Gesture: Jackson Pollock and Post-War American Art (1996).

Pollock, Jackson


Born Jan. 28, 1912, in Cody, Wyo., died Aug. 12, 1956, in East Hampton, N.Y. American painter.

Pollock studied in Los Angeles from 1925 to 1929 at the Manual Arts High School and in New York from 1929 to 1931 at the Art Students League. His teacher in New York was T. H. Benton. After 1940 he turned to abstract art, becoming one of the leaders of its “Pacific school.” Pollock’s work is an extreme expression of irrationalism and of abstract expressionism’s principle of “spontaneous form creation.” To imitate random color-istic and linear effects, Pollock painted by dripping, that is, he applied his colors without a brush.


Tomassoni, I. J. Pollock. [Florence, 1968].

Pollock, (Paul) Jackson

(1912–56) painter; born in Cody, Wyo. He grew up in Wyoming and California, moved to New York City, and studied intermittently with Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League (c. 1929–32). His paintings of the 1930s, such as Birth (1937), anticipate the turbulent impasto and sexual imagery of his later work. His first major exhibition was organized by Peggy Guggenheim (1943) when he was using mythological themes, as seen in The She Wolf (1943). Around 1946 he settled in Easthampton, Long Island, and began his critically acclaimed abstract work exemplified by Full Fathom Five (1947). The spatter-and-drip technique used on his large canvases (1945–55) established his reputation as a major abstract expressionistic painter. He explored figurative studies, but shortly before his death in an automobile accident, he reclaimed his interest in action painting.
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Oddly, this issue is less significant in Kass' earlier works like Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man, 1991, in which her montage of Jackson Pollack, Pablo Picasso, and David Salle, juxtaposes fragments of their works in such a way that the recombination becomes an independent, unique, and coherent statement.
Providing the reproductive artwork of Jackson Pollack through a traveling exhibit, the students will be given a hands-on experience of mural painting in Pollack's style.
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