Thursday, August 11, 2011

"The painting has a life of it's own. I try to let it come through." Jackson Pollock (1912 - 1956)


No. 5

Eyes in the Heat 1946

No. 8

Shimmering Substance 1946

Autumn Rhythm 1950

Today is the anniversary of the death at 44, of the abstract expressionist, Jackson Pollock.  He died on this date, 55 years ago. I've always loved his work, so I thought I'd post some of his paintings as a kind of reminder of the artist that was lost. I am only grateful that at one time I was alive at the same time as Pollock was creating. To read about Pollock, his work, his place in history and the abstract expressionist movement, please go here.

No. 15

He was a difficult man, an almost life long alcoholic and his death, driving while intoxicated, took the life of a woman passenger - but the work Pollock left behind is thrilling. It's difficult to separate the man from the art. But in Pollock's case, I find myself doing just that. It wasn't always the nice guys who were doing the incredible work. That's the unfortunate truth.

Much of Pollock's behavior, especially towards his wife, the artist Lee Krasner, was - apparently - egocentrically dreadful, yet she managed his estate and saw to it that his work lived on even in a changing art world. They are buried near each other.

If you haven't seen it and are interested at all in how the artistic process works, I recommend the film, POLLOCK starring Ed Harris in a remarkable performance as Pollock and Marsha Gay Harden in an Academy Award winning performance as Lee Krasner.

Watch a brief documentary on Pollock featuring, among others, Pollock biographers and the actor Ed Harris. Link here.

The Key 1946

One of the great thrills of my life was seeing a Jackson Pollock painting at the Museum of Modern Art. If you've never had the experience, I really recommend it.


  1. Not my cup of tea.
    I just go blank when I see
    this type of art.
    To each his own, right.


  2. I saw the movie and thought Ed Harris should have won an Oscar for his performance — he did get a nomination for it.

  3. Yvonne: No love for Pollock - huh? Well, okay, I have enough love for his work to cover the gaps. :)

    I like all kinds of art, not just the traditional.

    But I realize this work may not be to everyone's taste. That won't stop me talking or posting about it though. :)

  4. Mark: A harrowing movie, a harrowing part, but so worth seeing. It has one of the best looks at the artistic process that I've ever seen reproduced in film.

    Yes, Ed Harris should have won. Can't remember who did win that year. But Harris was absolutely wonderful.

  5. I liked the movie about his life.

  6. Yes! I have to admit his art draws me in. Did you ever see the documentary movie of the woman who thought she found a JP painting for sale at a yard sale? It is both sad and hilarious.

  7. If someone I know would die and leave me $5 million (just someone I don't know about, like a long-lost aunt or something, you understand), I would try to get The Key particularly. Pollock is a genre all his own, but this is the closest to abstract impressionsim, and I love impressionist art!

  8. Although this isn't my favorite style of art, I can see why it's liked.

    It's your blog, do whatever you want with it.

    Art is subjective as are books, music, everything. Lots of different tastes.

    I think it's great to open up people's eyes and ears to new aspects of art and music and books and everything.

    I remember when I saw Mona Lisa's Smile (I liked it), and Julia Roberts as an art professor was discuss a painting of a carcass. It's famous. I didn't get it, but a friend explained it to me and why it was being studies. Opened up my thinking about art.

    Didn't Marcia Gay Harden win an Oscar for playing Lee Krasner, Pollock's spouse? Ed Harris probably should have won, too. He is an unrecognized, yet excellent actor.

  9. Pat: I didn't see the documentary, but I'd read about the woman. Was the painting a forgery? What ever happened?

    Years ago, in the 60's, actually - I did a Pollock-like painting for a spread in a magazine I was working for. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy.

    And of course, I could never really match the Pollock 'style'.

    No one could. He was unique.

    Of course, you can't do this sort of thing well unless you first know how to create in the traditional way. I think this is something most people don't understand.

    I should find the picture and scan it. I have it here somewhere. :)

  10. Becky: When I saw a couple of Pollock paintings for the first time in the museum, I was taken aback by the thrill I felt. It was an emotional thing - an awe and respect. I was overwhelmed, really.

    The Key is one of his more 'traditional' paintings. I love it too.

    But I love the first painting - the one at the very top. I'd buy that one. :)

  11. Kathy: Yes, Marcia Gay Harden won. Ed Harris is underappreciated, no doubt. He is an amazing actor.

    I'm never saying you have to like everything I post on my blog. But I do have esoteric tastes and intersts and I want my blog to reflect my own definition of who I am.

    Otherwise it wouldn't be my blog. :)

  12. It is your blog with your preferences, but it is educational and lots of fun.

    The posts are interesting and everyone's blog comments are, too.

  13. And me, with nary a moment to stop and smell the roses, zooming through blogworld, news websites, reading email, appreciate the rest stop for some artwork. It de-stresses and gets our mind off the dreary NEWS.

    And one can learn of one more artist and enjoy their work. And one can find art that is beautiful, or reflective of one's environment, or whimsical or transcending one's daily life.

    All good. I used to look up more art online but I just don't get to it, so I'm glad it's done here, so it's my art appreciation moment.

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  15. Kathy: There were two duplicates of the same post. I simply removed one.

  16. I've become remarkably fond of Pollack. Well, at least his artwork--not so much Pollack as a person!

  17. Glad you enjoyed this post, Lisa. No, he was not a very nice guy, but he was a superb artist. :)


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