Paul Jackson Pollock was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. During his lifetime, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety. He was regarded as a mostly reclusive artist. He had a volatile personality, and struggled with alcoholism for most of his life. In 1945, he married the artist Lee Krasner, who became an important influence on his career and on his legacy
Pollock died at the age of 44 in an alcohol-related car accident. In December 1956, the year of his death, he was given a memorial retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, and a larger more comprehensive exhibition there in 1967. More recently, in 1998 and 1999, his work was honored with large-scale retrospective exhibitions at MoMA and at The Tate in London.
Pollock Painting (1951)
Jackson Pollock. Filmed 1951, Hans Namuth and Paul Falkenberg (directors) Morton Feldman (composer)
During his time with Pollock, Hans Namuth had created two films and captured more than 500 photographs of the artist.These photos were first published in 1951 in Portfolio, a journal edited by Alexey Brodovitch and Franz Zachary. After the death of Pollock in 1956, Namuth’s photos grew in popularity and were often used in articles about the painter in place of Pollock’s artwork itself. Art historian Barbara Rose states that the photographs changed art by focusing on the creation of art rather than the final product alone Younger artists such as Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra, and Robert Morris were able not only to view Pollock’s paintings, but, with Namuth’s images, to see Pollock in the act of painting, giving rise to the popularity of Process Art. These photos have also allowed art historians to dissect the details of Pollock’s method. For example, art historian Pepe Karmel found that Pollock’s painting in Namuth’s first black-and-white film began with several careful drippings forming two humanoid figures and a wolf before being covered beneath several layers of paint.