The Tragic Story of Jackson Pollock

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

Jackson-Pollock-9443818-1-402When you’re viewing a Jackson Pollock painting there’s always at least one person in the room thinking, “This is art?  I could do this!”  That is, if that person isn’t already you.  I’ll admit that I too am guilty of thinking it.  After all, when you break it down, he is most famous for dripping paint on canvases.  But isn’t that the point?  He’s FAMOUS for that.  Not only did he reach fame in his lifetime, something so many of us want but so few of us achieve, he is now recognized as the figurehead of the abstract impressionism movement.

pollock.number-8Although his most famous work was made during his “drip period” between the late 1940s and early 1950s, he had a great deal of artistic influence in his life before this point.  He first followed his brother Charles, who was also an artist, to New York City in 1930.  Soon after he began studying under Thomas Hart Benton and became so close that the Bentons became like a second family to Pollock.  After the death of his father in 1933, Pollock began to sink into alcoholism.  He alienated his brother after taking an ax to a painting that Charles had scheduled for an upcoming exhibition.

A few years before meeting his wife he sought treatment for alcoholism from different psychiatric professionals.  It didn’t help, and Pollock continued to struggle with alcoholism for the rest of his life until he died in a car accident in 1956 at the young age of 44.  His marriage to Lee Krasner, also a contemporary artist, was rocky toward the end, as were many of his relationships.  For a brief time after their marriage Krasner was a stabilizing influence for him.  The couple moved to the Springs area of East Hampton, NY, where Pollock converted a barn into his private studio.  This artist’s space is where he developed his “drip” style of painting.  He would place the massive canvases on the ground and use an assortment of different objects to pour or drip paint onto the blank slate, seemingly at random.

Jackson-Pollock-9443818-2-402As his new painting grew popular, LIFE magazine did a four-page spread on Pollock in which they were quoted asking, “Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?”  The article contributed to the selling out of his shows making Pollock the best-paid avant-garde painter in America at the time.  His fame was further boosted when documentary photographer Hans Namuth took an interest in filming Pollock as he worked.  But the attention didn’t help his stress or alcoholism; he felt like a performing monkey in front of the camera.

Sadly before his death, his drinking drove Krasner to Paris to give him space.  He died while she was away but she returned to bury him and manage his remaining paintings.  She continued with her own work during this time, and before passing 20 years later, she created the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.  As an organization meant to give grants to young, promising artists, the Foundation works to create a positive legacy to follow Pollock and his paintings after his tragic life.

photo-3Keep Learning Beautiful Thinkers,

The Boy In The Heart Shades

PS Jackson Pollock style nails! Who needs a salon.

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