Artist: Jackson Pollock
Custom Framed Jackson Pollock Paintings and Art Works
At Framed-Arts.com, we offer a large selection of Jackson Pollock art works, from Male and Female to No. 5, 1948. The works we feature by Jackson Pollock can be browsed from our custom search page, while this page contains information about Jackson Pollock’s art work and life. Read on to find out more information on the famous American artist, including a detailed description of his unorthodox painting methods.
A Short Biography of Jackson Pollock
Born January 28, 1912, Paul Jackson Pollock was an influential American painter and a leading figure in the abstract expressionist movement. Married to noted abstract painter Lee Krasner, Pollock was born in Cody, Wyoming, and grew up in the West. At the age of seventeen, he followed his brother to New York to study art. Both Pollock and his brother Charles studied under Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League of New York. Benton's choice of subject matter (rural America) shaped Pollock's work only briefly, while his rhythmic use of paint and fierce independence were more lasting influences.
From 1938 to 1942, Pollock worked for the Federal Art Project. Then, in 1945, Pollock married painter Lee Krasner. A month later, the couple moved to what is now known as the Pollock-Krasner House and Studio in Springs on Long Island. With funds loaned from Peggy Guggenheim, Pollock converted the barn on the Springs property into a studio. There, he worked to perfect the spontaneous use of liquid paint, a technique for which he would become famous.
Pollock first encountered liquid paint technique in 1936 at an experimental workshop in New York City run by Mexican muralist David Siqueiros. Pollock later used paint pouring as one of several techniques in his canvases of the early 1940s, including Male and Female and the aptly named Composition with Pouring I. After relocating to Springs, he began painting with his canvases laid out on the studio floor, and developed what was later called his "drip" technique. Because this method of composition required paint with a fluid viscosity, Pollock turned to the new synthetic industrial paints called "gloss enamel." During WWII, gloss enamel paints were cheaper and more available than artist’s oil paints.
Along with industrial paint, Pollock used sticks, hardened brushes and even basting syringes as paint applicators. To achieve an elongated drip line, he would poke a hole in the bottom of a tin can of paint. With these techniques, he was able to achieve a more active means of creating art, as the paint literally flew onto the canvas. By re-envisioning the conventional method of painting--applying paint to an upright surface--he added a new dimension to the act of painting. With Pollock’s method, the artist could apply paint to his canvases from any direction. While developing this painting technique, Pollock also moved away from figurative representation, and began utilizing his entire body to create his canvases. In 1956, Time magazine dubbed Pollock "Jack the Dripper" for his singular painting style.
Because Pollock’s paintings were abstract, different people interpreted his work differently. In an effort to limit the viewer's search for representational elements in his paintings, he abandoned naming his works and began to number them instead. Lee Krasner, Pollock's wife, said he "used to give his pictures conventional titles... but now he simply numbers them. Numbers… make people look at a picture for what it is--pure painting."
Jackson Pollock’s Painting - The 1950s and Beyond
Pollock produced his most famous paintings between 1947 and 1950, the "drip period". In August 1949, a four-page spread in Life magazine rocketed him to national fame. The article asked, "Is [Pollock] the greatest living painter in the United States?" But at the peak of his fame, Pollock abruptly abandoned the drip style that had earned him so much recognition. After 1951, his work was darker, and included a series of paintings in black on unprimed canvases. Later, after he moved to a more commercial gallery, he returned to the use of color and figurative elements. The demand from collectors for new paintings increased, and Pollock reportedly struggled with the pressure. In 1955, he went the entire year without a single painting.
Pollock's career was cut short on August 11, 1956, when he and one of his two passengers died in an alcohol-related car crash less than a mile from his home in Springs, New York. He was only 44 years old. After his death, his wife, Lee Krasner, a painter in her own right, made sure that Pollock's reputation remained strong despite changing trends in the art world. Pollock and Krasner are buried in Green River Cemetery in Springs with a large boulder marking his grave and a smaller one marking hers.
The Impact of Jackson Pollock’s Art
The Stony Brook Foundation, a non-profit affiliate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, owns and administers the Pollock-Krasner House and Studio. Regular tours of the house and studio take place annually from May through October.
Krasner succeeded in keeping Pollock’s work in the public eye--in November 2006, his "No. 5, 1948" became the world's most expensive painting when it was purchased anonymously for $140 million. David Geffen, the film and music-producer, was the seller, while rumor has it that the buyer was a German businessman and art collector.
An ongoing debate still rages over whether or not 24 paintings and drawings found in a New York locker in 2003 are Pollock originals. Pigment analysis has revealed that some of the paints used were not yet patented at the time of Pollock's death, though a dealer might have made the paint in question available to Pollock for use in his art. At this time, the debate has yet to be resolved.
Jackson Pollock’s Art and Life
We hope this short biography of Jackson Pollock has provided insight into Pollock’s body of work. You can browse our selection of custom framed Jackson Pollock paintings by visiting our custom search page. Happy print shopping, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.