William Doyle /Apr 29, 2013
€2,307.87 - €3,846.45
Artworks in Arcadja123
Some works of Jackson PollockExtracted between 123 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Auction: Christie's -Nov 12, 2013 - New YorkLot number: 39
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Lot Description Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) Number 16, 1949 signed and dated 'Jackson Pollock 49' (lower edge) oil and enamel on paper mounted on masonite 30¾ x 22¼ in. (78.1 x 56.5 cm.) Painted in 1949. Provenance Peggy Guggenheim, Venice (acquired in December 1949 in exchange for Shooting Star) Betty Parsons Gallery, New York Dwight Ripley, Marion G. David Thompson, Pittsburgh His sale; Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, 23-24 March 1966, lot 83 Acquavella Galleries, New York Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Singer, Corpus Christi Acquavella Galleries, New York Private collection, New York Private collection, Philadelphia Acquired from the above by the present owner Literature Artforum 4, February 1966, p. 6 (illustrated). Arts Magazine, February 1966, p. 9 (illustrated). Burlington Magazine, February 1966, p. xxiv (illustrated). Art News, March 1966, p. 32 (illustrated). Ivory Hammer 4, 1966, p. 64 (illustrated in color). F.V. O'Connor and E.V. Thaw, Jackson Pollock, A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Drawings, and Other Works, Vol. 2: Paintings, 1948-1955, New Haven, 1978, p. 66, no. 244 (illustrated). Exhibited New York, Betty Parsons Gallery, Jackson Pollock, Paintings, November-December 1949. Venice, Ala Napoleonica, Museo Correr, Jackson Pollock, July-August 1950, no. 23. Amsetrdam, Stedelijk Museum and Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Surrealist and Abstract Art Selected from the Peggy Guggenheim, January-March 1951, no. 149. Bern, Kunsthalle, Tendances Actuelles 3, January-March 1955, p. 3, no. 59. Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, Carnegie Museum of Art, extended loan, circa early 1960s. Corpus Christi, Art Museum of South Texas, Expressionism in Modern Art, December 1974-February 1975, no. 13. Oxford, Museum of Modern Art; Düsseldorf, Stádtische Kunsthalle; Lisbon, Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian; Paris, Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris; Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum and New York, Museum of Modern Art, Jackson Pollock: Drawing into Painting, April 1979-March 1980, p. 59, no. 35 (Oxford, Düsseldorf and Paris); no. 33 (Lisbon); p. 42, no. 35 (Amsterdam); pp. 52 and 95 (New York). New York, C&M Arts, Jackson Pollock: Drip Paintings on Paper 1948-1949, October-December 1993, n.p. (illustrated in color). View Lot Notes > "Pollock's talent is volcanicit has fire. It is unpredictableIt spills itself out in a mineral prodigality not yet crystalized. It is lavish, explosive"--John Sweeney, 1943 In 1947 Jackson Pollock made the dramatic shift from applying paint directly to the canvas and began the seismic shift that would completely reinvent the accepted conventions that surrounded the creation of art. umber 16, 1949 is an exemplar painting that, within its ribbons of painterly color, fluid composition and fizzles of chromatic energy reveals these revolutionary advances that Pollock made to the practice of painting. Painted in 1949, during a remarkable burst of creativity, Number 16, 1949 was executed during one of the rare periods in Pollock's life when he was free from the internal struggles that governed much of his life. Released from these demons, his ingenuity erupted unabashed resulting in some of the most genuinely creative paintings in the history of art. Acquired by Peggy Guggenheim for her legendary collection, Number 16, 1949 was exhibited across Europe, a move that was instrumental in cementing the artist's career and which marked the shift of the artistic epicenter of the world from Europe to the United States and began the supremacy of Abstract Expressionism. The fluid lines of chromatic brilliance that dance across the surface of Number 16, 1949 are a physical manifestation of the artist at the height of his creative authority. The agitation of Pollock's constantly moving hand is traced throughout the surface of the work, as lace-like trails of pigment happily coexist alongside more substantial passages of color-choreographed together in a delicate yet deliberate dance. Seemingly contradictory elements-bold and brash yet at the same time delicate and refined--collide but never clash. It is a testament to Pollock's abilities that this seemingly autonomous application of paint is in fact very deliberate and precise. As the artist's wife, the painter Lee Krasner recalled, Pollock's radical new technique of painting was primarily a way of "working in the air 'gesturallly creating' aerial forms which then landed" (L. Krasner, quoted in S. Naifeh and G. White Smith, Jackson Pollock. An American Saga, New York, 1989, p. 539). Pollock would, "take his stick or brush out of the paint can," the photographic documenter of his working practice, Hans Namuth recalled, "and then, in a cursive sweep, pass it over the canvas high above it, so that the viscous paint would form trailing patterns which hover over the canvas before they settle upon it, and then fall into it and then leave a trace of their own passage. He is not drawing on the canvas so much as in the air above it" (H. Namuth, ibid). Pollock reveled in this new way of painting, and its ambiguous reception by critics of the art establishment. "There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my pictures didn't have any beginning or end," Pollock once recalled, "He didn't mean it as a compliment, but it was." (J. Pollock, quoted by T. J. Clark, "Pollock's Smallness," in K. Varnedoe and P. Karmel (eds.), Jackson Pollock: New Approaches, New York, 1999, p. 21). Like flares shooting into the sky, effervescent trails of teal blue, red, sunset orange, green and yellow are intermingled with the structural black elements to demonstrate Pollock's adept handling of color. Speaking after seeing Pollock's first exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim's Art of this Century gallery in 1943, Clement Greenberg raved; "[Pollock] is the first painter I know of to have got something so positive from the muddiness of color that so profoundly characterizes a great deal of American painting" (C. Greenberg, quoted by M. Dearborn, Peggy Guggenheim: Mistress of Modernism, London, 2005, p. 261). Although some of his paintings are defined by their dark, monochromic nature-particularly those painted during his bouts of depression, alcoholism and melancholia-Pollock was extremely skilled in his use of color. Lucifer, 1947, an exemplary example of the artist's developing poured painting technique, is also an essay in his intricate use of color, its decanted trails of green, mauves and creams interspersed with "staccato shots" of yellow, blue and orange all coalescing into one cohesive composition. In Number 16, 1949, painted the year after Lucifer, Pollock appears more confident in his chromatic abilities as he allows himself to let color be the controlling aspect of the composition, rather than a mere accent. Some have traced this bold use of color back to the influence of his mentor Thomas Hart Benton, but here Pollock releases the chromatic value of his pigment from their formal figurative duties and allows them to express their true, unrestricted values. In 1949, eschewing the almost mural-sized works of 1948, Pollock created paintings in smaller sizes and formats that he hoped would prove more accessible than his largest paintings. Number 16, 1949 belongs to a series of work painted on paper and mounted on masonite. By confining his work onto a smaller scale, Pollock had to adjust, probe and re-examine his ability with the drip technique considerably. Instead of making sweeping gestures in the air with his brush, the nuances of line are created with swift and elegant flicks of the wrist that prompt both finer and more dense concentrations allowing for a fuller range of painterly expression. As Number 16, 1949 illustrates, the change in scale did not affect Pollock's prodigious mastery and control of the drip technique nor his ability to generate magical images with it. A startling degree of finesse is used to contrast the thicker pourings of color where two different paints have been allowed to flow into one another. These denser, seemingly more earthy collisions are echoed a thousand times over in other parts of the composition by the lighter and more frenetic splattered collisions of swiftly dripped lines of a wide variety of color and globular density. This would eventually reach its peak two years later in the striking painting Number 28 from 1951, where dense and torrid swirls of monochromatic pigment are expertly overlaid with a gossamer thin web of pure white strands. Writing in several years after Number 16, 1949 was painted, the critic Frank O'Hara eulogized about this lyrical quality of Pollock's fluid line: "There has never been enough said about Pollock's draftsmanship, that amazing ability to quicken a line by thinning it, to slow it by flooding, to elaborate that's simplest of elements, the line-to change, to reinvigorate, to extend, to build up an embarrassment of riches in the mass by drawing alone" (F. O'Hara, quoted by B. Rose, Jackson Pollock: Drawing into Painting, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, 1979, p. 11). Number 16, 1949 was acquired by the legendary collector Peggy Guggenheim in December 1949 in exchange for one of Pollock's earlier works, Shooting Star. In 1948, Betty Parsons, wrote to Peggy Guggenheim in Venice expressing her concerns about the financial state of the Pollocks, and proposed any of the pending sales which Guggenheim had agreed to, "go through in their favor financially and you receivenew pictures from their future work. This would save them from immediate financial embarrassment" (Letter from Betty Parsons to Peggy Guggenheim, dated April 5, 1948, quoted by F. V O'Connor & E. V. Thaw (eds.), Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Drawings and Other Works, New Haven and London, 1978, p. 66). As part of this arrangement, Shooting Star was duly sold, and eventually Number 16, 1949 entered Miss Guggenheim's collection in December the following year. Peggy Guggenheim was one of Pollock most influential supporters. To help finance the artist's first show at her Art of this Century gallery in 1943 she agreed to pay him $150 a month for a year, deducting the money (plus her 33 sales commission) from the proceeds of the sales. This unprecedented contract was a clear demonstration of Guggenheim's faith in the artist, which was also demonstrated in the press release sent to journalists before the opening of that first show, where she stated that, "I consider this exhibition to be something of an event in the contemporary history of American artI consider [Pollock] to be one of the strongest and most interesting American painters" (P. Guggenheim, quoted by M. Dearborn, Peggy Guggenheim: Mistress of Modernism, London, 2005, p. 260). Guggenheim was very proud of having helped Pollock and considered it her greatest achievement, "The discovery of the genius of Jackson Pollock and its presentation to the American public I regard as one of the most satisfactory achievements of my many years of hard work in the cause of abstract art. The acclamation with which it was received by artist and critics alike was a gratifying confirmation of my own judgment and a source of inspiration in my further research for undiscovered talent" (P. Guggenheim, Jackson Pollock, exh. cat., Ala Napoleonica, Museo Correr, Venice, 1950, n.p.). The present work was painted in 1949, a year that proved to be the most decisive and important of Pollock's life. After two years struggling to formulate and evolve his "drip" technique Pollock, and everyone around him, knew that the time was ripe, for him to assert his radical new work on a wider public. Pollock himself was in a confident and relatively stable frame of mind. Throughout the first part of 1949 he settled into a simple and healthy routine at his house on Fireside Road in the Springs, East Hampton. Isolated from outside influence and the temptations of the city, Pollock worked soberly and keenly on several new paintings for a show at Betty Parsons in November. In August of that year, Pollock was also featured prominently in the pages of Life magazine under the banner headline "Jackson Pollock: Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?" Across four pages, the magazine chronicled the painter's meteoric rise to fame, stating that "Pollock was unknown in 1944. Now his paintings hang in five U.S. museums and 40 private collections. Exhibiting in New York last winter he sold 12 out of 18 pictures. Moreover his work has stirred up a fuss in Italy, and this autumn he is slated for a one-man show in avant-garde Paris, where is fast becoming the most talked-of and controversial U.S. painter" (Life magazine, August 8, 1949, p. 42). It was his critical reception in Europe that cemented Pollock's reputation and finally, after centuries of domination by the European fine arts, the center of the art world had shifted westwards to the United States. Number 16, 1949 provides ample evidence of Pollock's reputation as one of the most influential and groundbreaking artists of his generation. His accomplished use of color, combined with his almost supra-natural skill in controlling the almost uncontrollable nature of liquid pigment resulted in one of the most extraordinary paintings of Pollock's career. Produced when the artist was creating some of the most accomplished examples of this iconic painting technique, Number 16, 1949 proclaims its virtues in the most distinguished manner. Having re-written the established rules of painting, Pollock became a champion for a new generation of artists who were determined to forge a path on their terms and in a way addressed their concerns. Just a few short months after the present work was painted, Clement Greenberg anointed Pollock the leader of this new generation when he declared, "Jackson Pollock's show this year at Betty Parson's continued his astounding progress.The general quality that emerged from such picturesseemed more than enough to justify the claim that Pollock is one of the major painters of our time" (C. Greenberg, quoted by T. de Duve, Clement Greenberg between the lines: including a debate with Clement Greenberg, Chicago, 2010, p. 35).
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
JACKSON POLLOCK Untitled (M29), 1944 Screenprint, on MacAdam Bond paper, with uneven margins, I. 5 1/2 x 8 3/8 in (14 x 21.3 cm) S. 8 1/2 x 10 7/8 in (21.6 x 27.6 cm) a rare early proof before JP/1944/46 E 8th was added in the screen for the Pollock Krasner greeting card sent in anticipation of New Year 1944, printed by Pollock in an unknown edition size at 46 East 8th Street, in very good condition, framed. The Pollock/Krasner Foundation, Inc., New York Washburn Gallery, New York (WG # 11465) Washburn Gallery, New York see Francis Valentine O'Connor, Eugene Victor Thaw and William S. Lieberman 1088 (P24)
Auction: Christie's -May 15, 2013 - New YorkLot number: 18
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Lot Description Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) Number 19, 1948 signed and dated 'Jackson Pollock 48' (upper left) oil and enamel on paper mounted on canvas 30 7/8 x 22 5/8 in. (78.4 x 57.4 cm.) Painted in 1948. Provenance Janet Chase Hauck, New York Anon. sale; Christie's, New York, 4 May 1993, lot 10 Private collection, Paris Acquired from the above by the present owner Pre-Lot Text Property of an American Foundation Literature C. Greenberg, "Art," The Nation, 19 February 1949, p. 12. F.V. O'Connor and E.V. Thaw, eds., Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Drawings and Other Works, vol. 2, New Haven, 1978, p. 9, no. 190 (illustrated). Exhibited New York, Betty Parsons Gallery, Jackson Pollock; Recent Paintings, January-February 1949. Caracas, Museo de Bellas Artes; Rio de Janero, Museo de Arte Moderna; Sao Paolo, Museo de Arte Moderna; Buenos Aires, Museo de Arte Moderno; Salon of the Municipal Government of Montevideo; Santiago, Reifschneider Gallery; Lima, Instituto de Arte Contemporaneo; Guayaquil, Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana; Quinto, Museo de Arte Colonial; Bogota, Museo Nacional; Panama, Instituto Panameno de Arte; Mexico City, Palacia de Bellas Artes, Abstract Drawings and Watercolors, organized by the Museum of Modern Art International Council, January 1962-May 1963, no. 52. New York, C&M Arts, Jackson Pollock: Drip Paintings on Paper, 1948-1949, October-December 1993, n.p. (illustrated in color). View Lot Notes > Number 19, 1948 is one of the great 'drip' paintings that Jackson Pollock made in a legendary three-year burst of creativity between 1947 and 1950. It was these startling, original and accomplished paintings that, in Willem de Kooning's phrase, finally 'broke the ice' for American painting, completely revolutionizing it and in the process reshaping the entire history of twentieth century art. Displaying a fascinatingly dense, intricate and animated abstract surface--one that reveals the extraordinary mastery that Pollock had over his radical new medium of pouring, dripping and flicking enamel paint onto an unprimed ground--Number 19, 1948 is one of the richest most engaging and successfully resolved of all these famous works. Indeed, along with the larger painting Number One A also of 1948-the first Pollock 'drip' painting to be purchased by New York's Museum of Modern Art--this work, Number 19, 1948, was singled out as one of the finest of Pollock's achievements to date by the great pioneering champion of Abstract Expressionism, Clement Greenberg, when it was first shown at the artist's second solo exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery in January 1949. "The general quality that emerged from such pictures," Greenberg wrote, "especially (Number) Nineteen, seemed more than enough to justify the claim that Pollock is one of the major painters of our time" (C. Greenberg, The Nation, 19 February, 1949, reproduced in J. O'Brian (ed.), Clement Greenberg, The Collected Essays and Criticism, Vol. 2 Arrogant Purpose, 1945-1949, Chicago, 1986, pp. 285-6) Despite Greenberg's laudatory praise for this show and for works such as Number 19, 1948 however, it was to take another six months and another exhibition at Betty Parson's Gallery later in the year before more mainstream critics were to recognize the scale and importance of Pollock's achievement and the artist was to begin his meteoric rise to success and notoriety. Pollock had first begun to experiment with the pouring and dripping of paint in his work around 1943 but it was not until 1947 that he made the all-important break away from applying paint directly onto the canvas plane to create completely freeform works composed solely of a complex veil-like surface of drips, splashes and spills made from above. In his early experiments of 1943 Pollock had, following a spirit of automatism then common amongst many Surrealist and avant-garde American painters, briefly explored a pouring technique with the aim of freeing further the code-like figurative calligraphy that both distinguished and often overlay his work of this period. Central to the development of his painting in respect of these works was his decision around 1946 to begin painting his works on the floor. "On the floor I am more at ease," he later said. "I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting" (J. Pollock, 'My Painting', Possibilities, New York, Winter, 1947-8) Emulating the techniques of the Navajo Indian sand painters that Pollock had known as a child, the placing of the painting on the ground made a surprising degree of difference to Pollock's working practice. Not merely in terms of enhancing the ritualistic and totemic nature of his picture-making, but in freeing the painting from its traditional vertical place on the easel, it completely opened Pollock's painting to the spatial field within which it was to be worked. Not only did his placing of the canvas on the ground then actively encourage drips and spills of paint onto its surface rather than direct application with a brush but, most important of all, it enabled and encouraged the artist to work around the picture from all sides and to treat its entire surface equally and non-hierarchically--to treat the canvas and its image as an holistic as well as a totemic and ritualistic entity. These relatively simple features of this comparatively unorthodox manner of painting were to have a profound impact on the radical break-away from the tradition of European-orientated easel painting, that Pollock's great 'drip' paintings of the late-1940s came to represent. And, with their apparent link to Native American tradition, they had the added advantage of placing Pollock's work in a distinctly American tradition. Intuitively following the fluid, material nature of his paint as if it were a guide that led him to a pure, unmediated painterly outpouring of his inner thoughts and the often turbulent emotions that welled up inside him, throughout 1947, Pollock experimented with the dripping and pouring of paint as a more direct and automatic language of self-expression. Where before Pollock's painting had been a convoluted mixture of half-conscious imagery subsequently veiled and obscured by subsequent overpainting and calligraphic gesture, such compulsive creation and correction, stating and then obscuring, now came to be fused into a single act with the new process of painting gesturally in the air above the canvas and letting the thinned paint fall and splatter onto the surface below. As if to suggest the almost ritualized nature of this practice many of these first works were, at the suggestion of his friends subsequently given quasi-mystical titles such as Alchemy, Enchanted Forest, Cathedral and Lucifer. As the artist's wife, the painter Lee Krasner recalled, Pollock's radical new technique of painting was primarily a way of "working in the air" gesturallly creating "aerial forms which then landed" (L. Krasner, quoted in S. Naifeh and G. White Smith, Jackson Pollock. An American Saga, New York, 1989, p. 539) Pollock would, "take his stick or brush out of the paint can," the photographic documenter of his working practice, Hans Namuth recalled, "and then, in a cursive sweep, pass it over the canvas high above it, so that the viscous paint would form trailing patterns which hover over the canvas before they settle upon it, and then fall into it and then leave a trace of their own passage. He is not drawing on the canvas so much as in the air above it" (H. Namuth, ibid) In many cases Pollock appears to have still been working within a kind of figurative tradition, drawing in places, specific forms spontaneously suggested by his unconscious mind in the air above the canvas. He told Nick Carone for instance, that "he wasn't just throwing paint, he was delineating some object, some real thing, from a distance above the canvas" (N. Carone, ibid). Accepting of the results of this strange, balletic fusion of figuration and abstraction, now taking place in mid-air above the canvas rather than flatly on it, Pollock explained that "when you are painting out of your unconscious, figures are bound to emerge...I'm very representational some of the time, and a little all the time" (J. Pollock, quoted in S. Rodman, Conversations with Artists, New York, 1961, p. 8) The spontaneity and immediacy of this method of working in space at a remove from the canvas plane not only liberated Pollock but also quickly led to the artist developing a surprising to degree of control and even graceful mastery over the new technique. It was this mastery that in turn led to the creation of new freeform compositions of surprising energy and diversity such as Number 19, 1948, that appear to chart a dynamic balancing act between order and chaos. In a unique series of almost revelatory notes to himself that he made about the new works he described these paintings as "States of order-- Organic intensity--Energy and motion--Made visible--Memories arrested in space, human needs and motives--acceptance." What was essential, Pollock also asserted in these rare personal notations, was "total control - denial of the accident." Confident that these works represented a major step forward in art, Pollock, was fearful of being wrongfully dismissed as a mere agent of automatism or worse, a Surrealist-imitator. It was of crucial importance, he felt, to make the public aware that although he might enter a kind of transcendent state when he painted, whereby his actions were often prompted by the apparent demands of the painting itself, these actions and his brushwork were never left to mere chance. After gaining control over the technique in 1947, Pollock subsequently developed the practice to such a refined degree of mastery that he claimed to know exactly where the drips would fall even after the wildest of gestural splashes. In support of this, Lee Krasner recalled that Pollock's "assuredness at that time is frightening to me. The confidence, and the way he would do it was unbelievable" (L. Krasner, 'Jackson Pollock at Work: An Interview with Barbara Rose,' Partisan Review 47, No.1. (1980): 82-92 p. 45). Indeed, running contrary to the creative self-doubt that he suffered from throughout much of his life, in the great years of creativity, boldness, energy and sobriety of 1947 to 1950, Pollock's self-confidence in his art was running on such a high that he confided to Krasner in all sincerity, that he believed jazz music, particularly in the form of the Bebop of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie 'Bird' Parker, to be the "only other creative thing happening in this country" (L. Krasner, quoted in R. G. O'Meally, Cool Jazz and Hard Bob: Painting and Picturing the Jazz Experience, New York, 1998, pp. 178-179.) Reflecting to some extent a similarly exhilarating high-wire act to 'Bird's' own improvisational flights of musical genius at this time, Pollock's drip-paintings were themselves often dazzling virtuoso performances and precarious balancing acts that teetered on the brink of chaos. Forged from a similar spirit of risking it all in the name of spontaneity, improvisation and unconscious impulse, Pollock's radical new working practice of painting in the air with thrown, splashed, flicked and splattered paint was one that marked the development of the language of painting into the realm of a performance or what would soon be termed 'action painting'. Miraculously, Pollock's paintings of this period almost never dissolved into chaos but, as in Number 19, 1948 appeared to hover delicately and intriguingly on the edge of an abyss. More than merely two-dimensional records of the balletic three-dimensional movements in space that the artist's hand, wrist and arm had gone through in order to create the work, Pollock's paintings mysteriously seemed to transfer something of the spatial acrobatics that had gone into their making onto the picture plane itself. As the endlessly mysterious and fascinating spatial depth of a work such as Number 19, 1948 shows the expansive nature of Pollock's unique painterly practice in fact opened up the flat picture plane to powerful evocations of an entirely new dimension of space. Distinctive for its dense all-over web of fine gossamer-like dripped lines vying with one another in a shimmering but united field of energy and seemingly motional fluid form, Number 19, 1948 is one of the finest of a series of medium-scale paintings that Pollock made at the height of this tumultuous period of creativity and outward expression. Beginning with a series of strong meandering black lines dripped onto a stiff, white-primed paper surface, Pollock has overlain these initial marks with a fine white lattice work and then a sequence of differing muted tones again including white and black as well as red, turquoise and finally gray in a way that anticipates the delicate color schemes of the vast, later masterpieces such as Lavender Mist and Autumn Rhythm. From this gradual build-up of spiralling interactive form a dense, dynamic and febrile web of exquisite painterly form has been made that radiates with energy and establishes an extraordinarily rich and complex spatial field. Here, as the Greenbergian critic Michael Fried once wrote of Pollock's work, all the conventional functions of line, space, color and composition have been denied in favour of a wholly new way of working in which each element, line especially, becomes a purely constructional part of a universal whole. "Pollock's finest paintings" he wrote, "reveal that his all-over line does not give rise to positive or negative areas: we are not made to feel that one part of the canvas demands to be read as figure, whether abstract or representational, against another part of the canvas read as ground. There is not inside or outside to Pollock's line or the space through which it moves. Pollock has managed to free line not only from its function of representing objects in the world, but also from its task of describing or bounding shapes or figures, whether abstract or representational, on the surface of the canvas" (M. Fried, Three American Painters, exh. cat., Cambridge, Mass, 1965, p. 34) Rare among Pollock's paintings for being able to generate a uniform, all-over feel of painterly action usually confined to larger canvases such as One, Number 31, 1950 or Lavender Mist, here, in Number 19, 1948, space, form, color and depth of field all merge into one another to generate a dense, universal, landscape-like plane of painterly energy. Comprised solely of lines, dribbles and splashes, the intricacy and complexity of the work is, in fact, too great for the eye to comprehend in any one glance. It gets seduced and then lost in the painting's frenetic and spectacular myriad of detail. Pollock's field of vision and extraordinary ability to have juggled all these possibilities and yet kept control of the over-all cohesiveness of the work in the midst of such ever-developing depth and complexity is simply dazzling. The entire composition--if indeed composition is the right word to describe such a volatile entity--is, in the end, held together solely by the artist's final act; the extraordinarily fine twisting calligraphy of the last color he applied, gray. It is this gray, like the 'blue poles' with which he later resolved his famous late painting of the same title that ultimately unites Number 19, 1948, holding both itself and all them myriad of spiralling forms beneath it into a fascinatingly tumultuous, non-hierarchical, non-representational, egalitarian whole. "Abstract painting is abstract," Pollock once said. "It confronts you. There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my pictures didn't have any beginning or any end. He didn't mean it as a compliment, but it was" (J. Pollock, quoted in 'Unframed Space,' Interview with Berton Roueché, The New Yorker, 5 August, New York, 1950, p. 16).
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Lot 109 Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) GREETINGS Screenprint on green paper, printed as a greeting card, circa 1943, inscribed Lee & Jackson in ink verso, some unobtrusive rubbing and a few small areas of white ink, matstain and gluestaining (with some associated old paper residue) verso, otherwise in good condition, the full sheet, framed. Sheet 5 3/4 x 8 3/4 inches C Estimate $3,000-5,000 Any condition statement is given as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Doyle New York shall have no responsibility for any error or omission. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging.
Auction: Christie's -Nov 15, 2012 - New YorkLot number: 421
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Lot Description Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) Untitled double-sided--graphite, colored pencil and ink on paper 14 x 11 in. (35.5 x 27.9 cm.) Drawn circa 1939-1940. Provenance Dr. Joseph L. Henderson, San Francisco Maxwell Galleries, Ltd., San Francisco Private collection, Paris Anon. sale, Christie's, New York, 10 November 1993, lot 109 Acquired at the above sale by the present owner Pre-Lot Text Works from the Douglas S. Cramer Collection Literature F. V. O'Connor and E. V. Thaw, Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Drawings and Other Works, New Haven and London, 1978, vol. 3, p. 95, no. 520 (illustrated). C. L. Wysuph, Jackson Pollock/Psychoanalytic Drawings, New York, 1970, pp. 70-71, nos. 38 and 39 (illustrated). C. Cernuschi, "Psychoanalytic" Drawings, Durham, 1992, p. 91, pl. 44 (illustrated). Exhibited West Hartford, University of Hartford, Joseloff Gallery, The Charged Image, September-October 2004, pp. 66-67 (illustrated).