Jackson Pollock
1912 – 1956

Born in Cody, Wyoming in 1912, Jackson Pollock (born Paul Jackson Pollock) would become a leading pioneer of the Abstract Expressionism movement.  His development and implementation of the “Drip” technique, a style in which he used his brushes to literally drip and splatter paint onto a canvas from above, would provide Pollock with an intensely personal method of artistic expression.  Believing that authentic expression should be the goal of art, his work would eventually garner attention and accolades, including a rare embrace from the European art world, and helped to legitimize both the Abstract Expressionism movement as well as American artists in general.

Pollock’s family left Wyoming before he was eleven years old, and for the next sixteen years of his life they would reside in various areas of California and Arizona.  His formal art education began in 1928 at the Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, California.  In 1930, Pollock left California for New York City.  His brother, Charles, had left home in 1922 to pursue an art education himself, and Jackson would follow in kind, studying at the Art Students League under the same teacher as his brother, Thomas Hart Benton.  He attended the League until 1933, and in 1935 he would find steady employment creating easel paintings with the WPA Federal Art Project.  In the late 1930′s, Pollock was struggling with alcoholism and depression, attending regular Psychotherapy sessions.  During this time his paintings became increasingly abstract and surrealistic, drawing influence from his own exploration of the subconscious mind as well as from artists such as Pablo Picasso and Mexican muralist Jose Clemente Orozco.

In 1943 he held his first solo exhibition at Peggy Gugenheim’s gallery, and near the end of that year and the beginning of 1944 he created his first wall sized painting, titled Mural.  He married in 1945 to fellow painter Lee Krasner, and they moved to East Hampton on Long Island, New York.  Throughout this decade he would innovate his techniques in an attempt to fully translate his personality into his paintings.  The culmination of this occurred in 1947 when he first used the Drip technique.  This development is often cited as the greatest achievement in Abstract Expressionism and is the style for which Pollock would go on to be most recognized.  If not at first universally embraced, this technique would push Pollock and Abstract Expressionism as a whole to the forefront of mainstream art discussion including covers and stories with widely distributed periodicals such as Time and Life magazines.  For the next few years, Pollock continued to paint and exhibit, exploring the potential of Abstract Expressionism and his Drip technique.  During the last couple of years of his life, his production began to slow down due to personal issues and deteriorating health.  He died in an automobile accident in August of 1956.

Collections Include:
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas
Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York
National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California
Stadel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska
Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland
Kunstammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, Germany
Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel

1912 – Jackson Pollock born in Cody, Wyoming
1928 – Attends Manual Arts High School, Los Angeles, California
1930 – Moves to New York, New York, Attends Art Students League
1935 – Begins work as an easel painter for the WPA Federal Art Project
1943 – First solo exhibition with Peggy Gugenheim
1945 – Marries Lee Krasner
1947 – Develops “Drip” Technique
1956 – Dies in an automobile accident

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