Lot 73
  • 73

Jackson Pollock

800,000 - 1,200,000 USD
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  • Jackson Pollock
  • Untitled
  • signed and dated 51
  • enamel on paper

  • 17 3/8 x 22 1/4 in. 44.1 x 56.5 cm.


Linda Lindeberg, New York (gift of the artist)
Private Collection, New York
Achim Moeller Fine Art Ltd., New York
Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey
Christie's, New York, May 13, 2009, Lot 33
Private Collection, New York


New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Museum of Art; Grand Rapids Art Museum; Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, University Gallery; Seattle Art Museum; The Denver Art Museum; Dallas, Museum of Fine Arts; The Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts; Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois, Krannert Art Museum, American Drawings, September 1964 - December 1965, cat. no. 102
Montclair, The Montclair Art Museum, The New York School, May - August 1988
Montclair, The Montclair Art Museum, A Museum Collects: Works on Paper, September - November 1989
Montclair, The Montclair Art Museum, Post-World War II Art from the Collection, June - August 1990
Montclair, The Montclair Art Museum; Southampton, The Parrish Art Museum; Manchester, The Currier Gallery of Art; Purchase, Neuberger Museum of Art, Affinities and Influences: Native American Art and American Modernism, July 1995 - April 1997
Montclair, The Montclair Art Museum, Will Barnet in Context: American Art from the Collection, May - August 2000
New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, No Limits, Just Edges: Jackson Pollock Paintings on Paper, June - September 2006
Chestnut Hill, Boston College, McMullen Museum of Art, Pollock Matters, September - December 2007
New York, Marianne Boesky Gallery, I.G.Y., May - July 2011
Beverly Hills, Gagosian Gallery, Masters of the Gesture, October - November 2010, p. 81, illustrated in color


John Sedgewick, Jr., Discovering Modern Art, New York, 1966, fig. 6, p. 23, illustrated
Francis V. O'Connor and Eugene Thaw, Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Drawings and Other Works, Volume 3: Drawings 1930-1956, New Haven, 1978, cat. no. 804, p. 285, illustrated


This work is in very good condition. The paper has a very slightly darkened tone overall from age, as is to be expected. Where the enamel has pooled, the pigment has a shinier sheen and a more textured, but stable, drying shrinkage pattern. The sheet is softly rippled overall, an affect associated with the liquid pigment application. There is a soft 1 ½ inch crease running from the center of the bottom edge up to the bottom center pool of enamel. The sheet has a deckled edge and is hinged to ragboard at intervals. The work is framed under Plexiglas in a wood strip frame with silver gilt facing.
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

In comparison to the grand scale and multilayered colors of Jackson Pollock's famed drip paintings, the present work displays a refined quietude. A sense of grace marks the piece, no doubt a consequence of the artist's treatment of a single bold paint. The smooth movement in the application of the enamel - as it is expressed in both pauses and bursts of energy - is further intensified against the simplicity of the untreated paper background.

Movingly, Pollock once compared the necessary precision of his painting to the execution of compositions by two of history's most beloved composers. In Pollock's mind, an error made in a sonata by Brahms could conceivably go unnoticed, but an error performed in a work by Mozart would unquestionably disrupt the flow and beauty of the piece. Pollock's analogy was recounted by collector Ben Heller, who has written, "He was like Mozart and knew that, most particularly with a Black Enamel Painting, where anything 'wrong' was there for all to see." (Exh. Cat., New York, Gagosian Gallery, Jackson Pollock: Black Enamel Paintings, 1990, p. 26).

The present work is indeed impeccably executed, and its creation in 1951, marks a moment when Pollock decisively simplified his color palette. It was at that time, after the initial success of his poured works, that the artist also traded the sticks he had previously employed to create expansive arches of paint for the less dramatic, unhurried and more easily controlled effect of a basting syringe. As exemplified by this particular piece, the resultant splatter patterns and pools of black paint constitute a language distinct from the dense overlapping character of the previous paintings' interwoven and overlapping lines. Here, the artist's gestures, as communicated by the syringe, are thicker, more commanding and ultimately flawlessly pronounced. The work's rare embodiment of this clarity suggests a certain intimacy as the artist's presence is wholly discernable.