January 28

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Jackson Pollock
1912–56, American painter, born in Cody, Wyo.

He studied (1929–31) in New York City, mainly under Thomas Hart Benton, but he was more strongly influenced by A. P. Ryder and by the Mexican muralists, especially Siqueiros. From 1938 to 1942, Pollock worked on the Federal Art Project in New York City. Affected by surrealism and also by Picasso, he moved toward a highly abstract art in order to express, rather than illustrate, feeling. His experimentations led to the development of his famous “drip” technique, in which he energetically drew or “dripped” complicated linear rhythms onto enormous canvases. He sometimes applied paint directly from the tube, and he also used aluminum paint to achieve a glittery effect. His vigorous attack on the canvas and his devotion to the very act of painting led to the term “action painting.” Pollock had become a symbol of the new artistic revolt, abstract expressionism, when he was killed in an automobile accident. His paintings are in many public and private collections, including museums in New York City, San Francisco, Dallas, and Chicago.


See catalog by F. V. O'Connor and E. B. Shaw (1978); Steven Naifeh and Greg W. Smith, Jackson Pollock: An American Genius (1988).

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