Lot 43
  • 43

Jackson Pollock

1,000,000 - 1,500,000 USD
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  • Jackson Pollock
  • Untitled
  • black and colored inks on rice paper
  • 25 x 39 in. 63.5 x 99.1 cm.
  • Executed circa 1951.


Estate of the Artist
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
Private Collection, Connecticut (acquired from the above in 1957)
Private Collection, Westport (acquired by descent from the above)
Sotheby's, New York, November 17, 1999, Lot 25
Acquired by the present owner from the above


New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, Jackson Pollock, 1957, no. 38
Oxford, Museum of Modern Art; Düsseldorf, Städtisches Kunsthall; Lisbon, Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian; Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum; New York, the Museum of Modern Art, Jackson Pollock: Drawing into Painting, 1979 - 1980, p. 67, illustrated


Francis Valentine O'Connor and Eugene Victor Thaw, eds., Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Drawings and Other Works, Volume 3: Drawings, 1920 - 1956, New Haven, 1978, cat. no. 822, p. 301, illustrated


This work is in very good condition. The paper is a soft consistency resulting in light rippling overall from the application of the medium. There are also scattered soft creases in the paper, primarily in the lower left corner, upper left edge and upper left corner, including: ---a 4 in. diagonal extending downward beginning 6 in. up from the lower left corner ---a 6 in. diagonal extending upward beginning 10 1/2 in. down from the upper left --a horizontal located 2 1/2 - 5 1/2 in. from the right edge and 1/2-3/4 in. up from the bottom edge ---a horizontal located 8 1/2 - 17 in. from the left side and 2 1/2 in. down from the top. There are also some vertical creases, ranging in size from 1 in. to 3 in. associated with the mat window, along the bottom edge of the paper. There are remains from old tape on the reverse of the lower left corner, measuring 3/4 x 3/4 in. There is a faint aqueous stain with small brown spot, measuring 1 1/2 x 7/8 in. which is located 10 - 11 1/2 in. down from the top right corner. The sheet is hinged at intervals along the top edge to a ragboard mat and is framed under plexiglas in a dark wood frame.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

This work is from a group of exquisite ink drawings that relate directly to Pollock's masterful black and white paintings of the same period, and also elegantly demonstrate how central drawing was to Pollock's entire aesthetic process. The artist experimented freely with drawing throughout his career, beginning with his early psychoanalytical drawings that encorporated Surrealist `automatism'.  In the late 1940s, Pollock adopted his famous `drip' technique that revolutionized American art. In pouring or dripping his medium, Pollock gained the freedom that allowed him to create the all-over compositions that are the hallmark of his genius.  The support - whether paper, masonite or canvas - was of little import to Pollock: the technique and process was the point and he made little distinction between painting and drawing.

As the catalogue raisonné states, ``[1951] was Pollock's most important and productive year as a draftsman. ...for the first and only time in his career the styles and preoccupations of his painting and drawing merge, both technically and aesthetically.'' (E. V. Thaw and Francis V. O'Connor, eds., Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Drawings and Other Works, Volume 3: Drawings, 1920 - 1956, New Haven, 1978, p. 283).  As in Untitled, Pollock poured, dripped and stained ink, often - as in this case - working with two large sheets of porous rice paper, one atop the other. The ink was absorbed into the undersheet which Pollock would then work on separately, independently elaborating on the original design.  As Bernice Rose noted, these drawings ``were a new kind of stimulus to Pollock, a new kind of `automatic' or hallucinatory drawing in which the remants of one image suggested others. ...In both cases the works acquire a new kind of ambiguity that is both optical and metaphysical.'' (cited in Exh. Cat., New York, Museum of Modern Art, Jackson Pollock: Drawing into Painting, 1980, p. 23)