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JACKSON POLLOCK/ BLUE POLES AND THE DRIP PERIOD.

Journal Entry: Mon Mar 16, 2009, 10:25 PM
Jackson Pollock is an abstract impressionist painter who was born on the 28th of January 1912 in Cody, Wyoming, USA.

In 1930 he moved to New York and enrolled at the Art Students League in the class of the famous painter Thomas Hart Benton. His first solo exhibition was held at Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century Gallery in 1943 and in 1944 his work "The she-wolf" was purchased by the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1945, Pollock married Lenore (Lee) Krasner and moved to East Hampton, Long Island.

Pollock's most famous paintings were done during his "drip period" which started around 1947. He rocketed to popular status following an August 8, 1949 four-page spread in Life Magazine that asked, "Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?"

Jackson Pollock speaks of his style during the drip period:
"I continue to get further away from the usual painter's tools such as easel, palette, brushes, etc. I prefer sticks, trowels, knives and dripping fluid paint or a heavy impasto with sand, broken glass or other foreign matter added."

Photographer Hans Namuth said this of a trip he took to photograph Pollock at work:
"His movements, slow at first, gradually became faster and more dance like as he flung black, white, and rust colored paint onto the canvas. He completely forgot that Lee and I were there; he did not seem to hear the click of the camera shutter. . . My photography session lasted as long as he kept painting, perhaps half an hour. In all that time, Pollock did not stop. How could one keep up this level of activity? Finally, he said 'This is it."

Blue Poles, painted in 1952, is one of the most famous abstract impressionist painting of all time. It was painted using enamel and aluminium paint with broken glass on canvas. It is 2.12m high and 4.88m long. The work was first displayed in 1952 at Sidney Janis's gallery where it was titled 'Number 11' and it rose to fame in 1973 after an article was written about it by P Friedman in the New Your Magazine.

In 1973, Blue Poles was purchased by the Australian Whitlam Government for the National Gallery of Australia for A$1.3 million. 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 in Australia. The painting is now one of the most popular exhibits in the gallery and is thought to be worth $150 million plus.

When asked about Blue Poles Tony Smith, a close friend and fellow artist said:
"Jackson started taking down paint. Tube after tube of cadmium red. Jackson said, 'I can't start a painting in red'. The tubes came in sets of three. He kept discarding them. And I thought, hell, we are getting away from what I'm trying to do. So I said I'd start. And by luck, the next tube was cadmium orange. It was the fifteenth tube so I squiggled it on. He took a pot of Duco that was black and threw the paint on. It turned out a sort of bilious green. And then we started to lay it on. The paint ended up a half-inch thick on the canvas."

Jackson's wife, Lee Krasner Pollock said:
"His palette was typically a can or two of this enamel, thinned to the point he wanted it, standing on the floor beside the rolled-out canvas. Then, using sticks and hardened or worn-out brushes (which were In effect like sticks), and basting syringes, he'd begin. His control was amazing. Using a stick was difficult enough but the basting syringe was like a giant fountain pen. With it he had to control the flow of ink [paint], as well as his gesture."

Frank O'Hara, reviewer for 'Art News' and employee at the Museum of Modern Art wrote of Blue Poles and the drip period:
"There has never been enough said about Pollock's draughtsmanship, that amazing ability to quicken a line by thinning it, to slow it by flooding, to elaborate that simplest of elements, the line — to change, to reinvigorate, to extend, to build up an embarrassment of riches in the mass by drawing alone."

When asked about his love of painting and his attitude towards it Pollock said:
"When I am in my painting, I'm not aware of what I'm doing.
It is only after a sort of 'get acquainted' period that I see what I have been about. I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well."

Reference:
Art News,
Art Students League of New York,
Australian National Gallery,
Chelsea Art Gallery,
Guggenheim Museum New York,
Life Magazine,
Museum of Modern Art,
New York Magazine,
Wikipedia.

Credit for the CSS goes to Davecheesefish:
davecheesefish.deviantart.com/
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:iconfalse-prophetess:
false-prophetess Featured By Owner May 26, 2010  Student General Artist
I'm currently studing Pollock in my HSC Studio Art class-this was quite helpful
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:iconmhnation:
MHNation Featured By Owner May 26, 2010
My pleasure. I really appreciate that you took the time to read my article.
Michael
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:iconfalse-prophetess:
false-prophetess Featured By Owner May 27, 2010  Student General Artist
No problem. It certaintly was very helpful, given that there was hardly any good information anywhere else
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:iconcymek:
CyMek Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2009
I studied Pollock extensively in a modern art class; like a lot of artists, reading anything about him has a melancholy tint in my mind because the problems that, unsurprisingly, lead to his death.
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:iconmhnation:
MHNation Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2009
Yes, the struggles of Pollock’s later life were tragic to say the least.

I deliberately left out the addiction, domestic violence and affective disorder stuff (everybody already knows the details, no need for me to reiterate) and just focus on his art and on the things about Pollock that I liked and am inspired by.

I'm really glad you read the article- I was looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Lata,
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