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Jackson Pollock

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Although many significant artists contributed to the abstract paintings and expressionist revolution in America, the most influential painter was named Paul Jackson Pollock.  He was born January 28, 1912 in Cody, Wyoming. Prior to his death, he married a fellow artist named Lee Krasner.  She has played an important role in both his legacy and his career. As a child he had been expelled from high school in 1928. A year later he followed his brother Charles to New York City and attended the Art Students League of New York where both studied under Thomas Hart Benton.

 

After working for the WPA Federal Art Project from 1935-1943, Pollock married Lee Krasner in 1945 and moved to Long Island, NY. The wood-frame house in which he and his wife now lived had a barn that he converted into a personal studio. He then began to experiment with paint and eventually perfected the technique. After being exposed to liquid paint work in 1936 by David Alfaro Siqueiros, he took to paint pouring upon a canvas in the early 1940s.

 

This technique of painting soon evolved into Pollock producing work that had paint dripping and pouring from his desired tool. This untraditional method of painting gave his work new dimension and depth. Although perfecting his new method did not gain him a popular status until August 8, 1949 when Life magazine gave the artist a four-page spread.

 

Pollock did not continue producing his drip style portraits once he arched the peak of his fame. Instead, he made a transfer to more dark colored pieces in which he illustrated a whole collection upon an unprimed canvas with black paint. This gave way to have his work be moved into a more commercial gallery setting.

 

Having a successful art career did not help his alcoholism by any means. Acquiring more recognition and popularity among the art community intensified this drinking disease. Although producing plenty of pieces and broadening his style, art collectors still demanded that he produce more work for museums, galleries, and showcases. Feeling the pressure of his fame compelled him to intensify his drinking.

 

Earlier in his life, attempting to fight his alcoholism, he turned to Dr. Joesph Henderson who used Jungian psychotherapy to treat his addiction. Dr. Henderson decided to have the artist create drawings that had Jungian concepts later shown in his work. Having this characteristic projected through his art lead to the hypothesis that he might have actually been suffering with bipolar disorder. Paul Jackson Pollock later died in a car accident that was a result of his alcoholism. Drinking and driving ended his life when he was only 44 years old.

 

During December of 1956 in memory of this revolutionary artist, the Museum of Fine Arts in New York City had a retrospective exhibit, and in 1967 had a more comprehensive large scale showing of his work. A more recent large-scale showcase of this artists work was held in 1998 and in 1999 at the Museum of Fine Arts in New York City, as well as at the The Tate, found in London.

 


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