Paul Jackson Pollock (born January 28, 1912) was one of the most famous American painters of the 20th century playing an important role in the abstract expressionist movement. When his works debuted at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York City in 1948 it was met with heavy scrutiny and sales were dismal. Eventually, not only his works but also his method of painting using the "drip technique" brought him widespread acclaim. It wasn't all positive, his form of abstraction was so extreme, it polarized the critics who either applauded or demeaned his works.
“I want to express my feelings rather than illustrate them.” -Jackson Pollock
Undeniably one of his most important works that embodies how radical and incredibly unique his art was is "Number 1 (Lavender Mist)".
Lavender Mist showcases the artistic development of Pollock from 1947 to 1950, when he developed and honed his "drip technique." As the name suggests, it involves the dripping or splashing of liquid household paint onto mural-size canvases placed on a horizontal surface, often his studio floor. This allowed him to view and paint his works from all angles. It was also known as "action painting" since it embodies gestural abstraction, where paint was applied with extreme physical force like a frenzied dance, to reflect the artist’s inner mind.
Pollock greatly admired the sand painting of the Native Americans. The colour palette of the painting itself is expressive. He created layers of color alternated by space, the end result was a textured canvas that has a dizzying effect on the viewer. It was among 32 paintings exhibited at the aforementioned Betty Parsons New York gallery, and it was the only one that sold for just $1,500. Today, it has become one of the most important and recognizable works from Pollock's “classic period.”
Jackson Pollock belonged to the generation of painters trying to find a voice for American art. A new movement emerged, known as Abstract Expressionism, which was strongly inspired by ideas and works of European artists such as the renowned Wassily Kandinsky. Check out our newly launched Kandinsky Collection here!
Fun fact for this blog: Another Pollock Abstract Expressionist work that is equally or perhaps more popular than Lavender Mist is “No. 5, 1948." In 2006, it was auctioned for $140 million, making it the most expensive painting ever sold until that point of time.