From 1942, when he had his first one-man show at Peggy Guggenheim's New York gallery, Art of This Century, until his death in an automobile crash at age forty-four in 1956, Jackson Pollock's volatile art and personality made him a dominant and revolutionary figure in the art world. Even long dead, his celebrity survives in the large body of work that is disseminated around the globe. One cannot speak about Pollock's late work-especially his famous mural-size paintings, such as Autumn Rhythm-without acknowledging his reinvention and appropriation of drawing processes.
In the mid-1940s, when he became dissatisfied with representational art, Pollock began to conceive of a way to render things imagined, rather than things that were seen. In 1947, he devised a radically new technique whereby paint was dripped and poured (as well as spattered, flung, and pooled) over canvas or paper using a variety of unconventional tools (e.g., sticks, brush handles, cans, etc). Although such works employed paint media, his means of applying this media and his reliance on line as his primary means of expression brought these works into the realm of drawing. They redefined the parameters of traditional painting and drawing, and proposed instead a new and innovative direction for modern art. As Lee Krasner, Pollock's wife and fellow Abstract Expressionist painter, noted, his work "seemed like monumental drawing, or maybe painting with the immediacy of drawing-some new category" (quoted in B. H. Friedman, Jackson Pollock: Energy Made Visible, New York, 1972, p. 182).
This large untitled work on paper displays the great control and facility that Pollock also applied to his considerably larger canvases. Dripping skeins of bright red enamel over a linear understructure of black ink, his hand moved like a virtuoso around the sheet. Lines thicken and thin, punctuate and envelop, with poetic grace. The dynamic abstract composition that results embodies a sense of harnessed energy and rapid motion.
the artist, Springs, N.Y. (until d. 1956; his estate, New York, 1956–62); Lee Krasner Pollock, New York (1962–82; her gift to MMA)
Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale. "Jackson Pollock–A Painter's Drawings 1930–1956," January 4–29, 1984, unnum. checklist.
Des Moines Art Center. "Jackson Pollock Drawings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 15–February 24, 1985, no. 31.
Tokyo. The Shoto Museum of Art. "Drawings Jackson Pollock: Loan Exhibition from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," August 20–September 29, 1985, no. 26.
Fukuoka Art Museum. "Drawings Jackson Pollock: Loan Exhibition from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 8–27, 1985, no. 26.
New York. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. "No Limits, Just Edges: Jackson Pollock, Paintings on Paper," May 26–September 26, 2006, not in catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Abstract Expressionist Drawings," November 1, 2007–February 24, 2008, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Born in 1912: A Centennial Tribute," April 24–October 14, 2012, no catalogue.
Francis Valentine O'Connor and Eugene Victor Thaw, ed. Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Drawings, and Other Works. Vol. 3, Drawings, 1930–1956. New Haven, 1978, p. 270, no. 786, ill.
Leonhard Emmerling. Jackson Pollock, 1912–1956. Cologne, 2003, p. 71, ill. p. 70 (color), cites this painting as an example of the broad nature of the term "drip painting".
Claude Cernuschi and Andrzej Herczynski. "The Subversion of Gravity in Jackson Pollock's Abstractions." Art Bulletin 90 (December 2008), p. 622, figs. 10, 11 (color, overall and detail), cite this work to illustrate how Pollock used different viscosities to achieve diverse visual qualities in his lines.
Sergio Risaliti inJackson Pollock: The Figure of the Fury. Ed. Sergio Risaliti with Francesca Campana Comparini. Exh. cat., Palazzo Vecchio. Florence, 2014, ill. p. 45.
Robyn Lea. Dinner with Jackson Pollock: Recipes, Art & Nature. New York, 2015, ill. p. 41 (color).