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Even if you’re only vaguely interested in art — or have a good general knowledge — you’ve probably heard the name Jackson Pollock. So, you may have wondered, who is this person, where is he from, and why is his name so well-known? Other questions likely to arise are: What type of art does Jackson Pollock specialise in? Is his work realistic or abstract? What era is he from?

Well, the article below should answer many of your questions and provide a deeper understanding about the artist and his work, while the examples of his paintings on this page will also give readers a good idea of the type of work for which he’s famous.

Jackson Pollock

Author: Alice Shown

Jackson Pollock was an influential American painter, founder of the so-called ‘Action Painting’ movement, which centered around a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled on the canvas. Without doubt he is one of the most famous abstract impressionists in the world.

At sixteen years old he joined the Los Angeles’ Manual Arts High School, from which he was expelled within a year. After this he moved to New York City where he studied with his eldest brother Charles Pollock at the Art Students League of New York under Thomas Hart Benton, an American painter and muralist.

During his life in New York he had enjoyed the reception of a number of successful exhibitions. The New York Times reported James Sweeney`s words ‘Pollock’s talent is volcanic. It has fire. It is unpredictable…It is lavish, explosive, untidy…’ but despite this, Pollock’s paintings were unsuccessful when it came to sales. It is interesting that the most expensive of Pollock’s paintings that was sold during his lifetime brought him only $8000. Yet now the most expensive painting ever sold in the world is No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock. It was sold for $140,000,000.

In 1945 Pollock married Lee Krasner, an American abstract expressionist painter, and they moved to a small house in East Hampton, Long Island. Right in this house, or to be more precise in the shed, Pollock`s famous ‘Dripper Painting’ came into the world and Jackson Pollock became the ‘Jack the Dripper’. Pollock put the canvas on the floor and covered it with the paint drops that trickled down at random from his brush or hand.

In his early years Pollock attended camp meetings with Jiddu Krishnamurti, a popular Indian writer and speaker on philosophical and spiritual issues. Part of Jiddu’s teachings was that truth can only be reached by an individual through intuition, through a process of independent, free ‘exploration’ of the personality. These words evidently had a very significant impact on Pollock’s creative work.

Pollock fought with alcoholism all his life. Unfortunately in 1956 he lost the fight, and died in an automobile accident whilst drunk. Now the small house in East Hampton is the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center.

In 2000 an Academy Award-winning biographical drama film directed by and starring Ed Harris was produced, simply entitled ‘Pollock.’ If you want to dip into Pollock’s world and feel as if you are present during his impetuous work this film is what you need. Pollock’s unpredictable and distinctive personality, as well as his unique talent, come across strongly in the film and have become part of the history of the art world.

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We hope the above article about Jackson Pollock was useful to you and that you now have a much better understanding of this artist, his life and his work, and his contribution to contemporary art.
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