- Jackson Pollock
- signed and dated 51
- ink on Japan paper
- 17 1/2 by 22 1/4 in. 44.4 by 56.5 cm.
By descent to the present owner from the above
New York, Museum of Modern Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Jackson Pollock, April - June 1967, no. 152
New York, Marlborough Gallery, Jackson Pollock: Black and White, March 1969, no. 48, p. 57, illustrated
London, Tate Gallery, Jackson Pollock, March - June 1999, cat. no. 197
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. 846, p. 318, illustrated
Jackson Pollock, recognized as one of the creative masters of the twentieth century, was among the vanguard of the Abstract Expressionists who liberated art from the traditional style and ideology which for so long had been the status quo. Freed from objective subject matter, Pollock instead devoted himself to the gestural application of the instinctual and the impulsive. The celebrated gallerist Betty Parsons believed Pollock to be of the highest artistic rank. "'Idiots!' she would shout at or about anyone failing to see Pollock's merits as a painter. `Why can't they see the great, great order here? Why can't they know art when they see it in its purest state.'" (Lee Hall, Betty Parsons: Artist, Dealer, Collector, New York, 1991, pp. 90-95).
Untitled (1951) comes to us five years after Pollock invented his signature drip style in the winter of 1946. The canvases on which he famously poured and flicked enamel paint are some of the most important of all post-war art. Pollock's dexterous pooling, thinning, thickening, and flitting of pigment showcases his ability to literalize the unconscious. As Pollock famously stated in 1950, "I approach painting in the same sense as one approaches drawing; that is, it's direct," (interview by William Wright, Summer 1950 as quoted in Clifford Ross, ed., Abstract Expressionism: Creators and Critics, New York, 1990, p. 144). In the present work, Pollock translates to the paper medium his painterly exuberance and his singular technique of extending his imagery to the very edge of the frame, creating his famous "all-over" compositions. Untitled (1951) is a prime example of Pollock's ingenious ability to create work that is at once spontaneous and evocative of primal patterning. The delicate ink blots and wild streaks in the present work contrast parchment-colored paper and appear alternately irrational and harmonious.