Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) in 10 points
"There was a critic who once wrote that my works had no beginning and no end. He didn't mean to pay me a compliment, but it was.
Jackson is Pollock's middle name. He used it as a pseudonym from 1930 onwards. His first name was actually Paul.
Pollock was introduced to painting as a teenager by his brother Charles. He joins him in 1930 in New York and begins to study with the painter and muralist Thomas Hart Benton, the leader of the regionalist school (typically American art whose source of inspiration and strength are the countryside of the Middle West and the South. Willing to stand out from European avant-garde art).
In 1942, Peggy Guggenheim organized a group exhibition at the Art of this Century, a Manhattan gallery she had just opened. At Piet Mondrian's request, the gallery owner included Pollock in the exhibition. The stature of the artist we know today began to emerge.
His deconstruction work begins with the gigantic painting Mural (1943) that he created for Peggy Guggenheim's New York apartment. This work prefigures the all-over space (undifferentiated filling of the surface) of the works from 1948-1949, one of Pollock's major inventions.
In the mid-1940s, Pollock painted in a completely abstract manner by freeing himself from the vertical constraints of the easel and affixing untensioned raw canvases to the ground. It was from 1947 onwards that his "drip style" emerged. Reminiscent of surrealist notions of the subconscious and automatic painting, Pollock's "dripping", also known as "action painting", revolutionized the potential of contemporary art and fostered the development of abstract expressionism.
Although today Pollock is recognized as the most important and innovative painter of his generation, he has been at the centre of debates that have animated the international art scene. While the famous art critic Clement Greenberg has always been an ardent supporter of Pollock, Time magazine disparagingly dubbed him "Jack the dripper" at the same time.
Greenberg personally organized Pollock's first solo show at Bennington College in Vermont in 1952.
In the course of his life, Pollock participated in numerous group shows such as the Whitney Biennial in 1946 (formerly the Whitney Annual) and the 1950 Venice Biennale.
Although his work was widely known and exhibited internationally, Jackson Pollock never traveled outside the United States.
Jackson Pollock was killed in a car accident on August 11, 1956 in East Hampton.
Visual: Jackson Pollock, Number 1A, 1948. 1948, oil and enamel painting on canvas, 172.7 x 264.2 cm, MoMA, New York © Flickr pieliny