Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock, 1912–56, American painter, b. Cody, Wyo. He studied (1929–31) in New York City, mainly under Thomas Hart Benton, but he was more strongly influenced by A. P. Ryder and the Mexican muralists, especially Siqueiros. From 1938 to 1942, Pollock worked on the Federal Art Project in New York City. Affected by surrealism and also by Picasso, he moved toward a highly abstract art in order to express, rather than illustrate, feeling. His experimentations led to the development of his famous "drip" technique, in which he energetically drew or "dripped" complicated linear rhythms onto enormous canvases, which were often placed flat on the floor. He sometimes applied paint directly from the tube, and at times also used aluminum paint to achieve a glittery effect. His vigorous attack on the canvas and intense devotion to the very act of painting led to the term "action painting." Pollock had become a symbol of the new artistic revolt, abstract expressionism, by the time he was killed in an automobile accident. His paintings are in many major collections, including museums in New York City, San Francisco, Dallas, and Chicago. Pollock was married to the painter Lee Krasner.

See H. Harrison, ed., Such Desperate Joy: Imagining Jackson Pollock (2001) and P. Karmel, ed., Jackson Pollock: Key Interviews, Articles, and Reviews (2002); catalogue raisonné, 4 vol., ed. by F. V. O'Connor and E. B. Thaw (1978, supplement 1995) and catalog ed. by K. Varnedoe and P. Karmel (1998); B. H. Friedman, Jackson Pollock: Energy Made Visible (1972, repr. 1995); J. Potter, To a Violent Grave: An Oral Biography of Jackson Pollock (1985); D. Solomon, Jackson Pollock: A Biography (1987); S. Naifeh and G. W. Smith, Jackson Pollock: An American Genius (1988); E. G. Landau, Jackson Pollock (1989); C. Ratcliff, The Fate of a Gesture: Jackson Pollock and Post-War American Art (1996).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Jackson Pollock: Meaning and Significance
Claude Cernuschi.
Icon Editions, 1992
Pollock and After: The Critical Debate
Francis Frascina.
Harper & Row, 1985
Jackson Pollock & the New York School
Kramer, Hilton.
New Criterion, Vol. 17, No. 5, January 1999
Jackson Pollock & the New York School, II
Kramer, Hilton.
New Criterion, Vol. 17, No. 6, February 1999
Modern Art and the Object: A Century of Changing Attitudes
Ellen H. Johnson.
Icon Editions, 1995 (Revised edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Jackson Pollock and Nature" begins on p. 110
The Triumph of American Painting: A History of Abstract Expressionism
Irving Sandler.
Harper & Row, 1976
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Jackson Pollock (1912-56)"
On Modern American Art: Selected Essays
Robert Rosenblum.
Harry N. Abrams Publishers, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Jackson Pollock" begins on p. 84
Contemporary Art and Its Philosophical Problems
Ingrid Stadler.
Prometheus Books, 1987
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Seven "Jackson Pollock: America's Artistic Genius or a Product of His Time?"
Modern Painting: Contemporary Trends
Nello Ponente.
Skira, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Jackson Pollock begins on p. 134
A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art
Ian Chilvers.
Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Pollock, Jackson (1912-56)" begins on p. 481
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