From the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA)
June 28, 2000 - October 20, 2000
It was in the lifetime of Jackson Pollock when he became a classical
embodiment of the Modern Movement of the 20th century.
Pollock was born in 1912 in Wyoming. When he was seven his family moved
to California. In 1928 he started attending Art School in Los Angeles.
In 1930 he moved to New York. Here he attended the studio of Thomas Hart,
a typical American realistic artist of left orientation. During this first
period of his creative life in 1930-1939 the works of Pollock reveal his
sympathy with left movements and interest in the life of workers. They
also demonstrate his attempt to render in an expressionistic way his impressions
of the Wild West. At the same time he studied masterpieces of the old
masters - there is a series of his drawings on the subjects of the paintings
by Signorelli and El Greco, the two painters who particularly interested
During World War II New York became the new capital of the world modern
art: artists from the occupied Europe came here; exhibitions devoted to
modern art were held here. Pollock was greatly impressed with the exhibitions
of Picasso -"Guernica" in 1940 and a retrospective show "Picasso. Forty
years. 1900-1940". European surrealism and theories of Jung were two decisive
factors that determined Pollocks creative activities in the 1940-s. The
first success also came to the artist in the early 40-s. He participated
in the exhibition "American and French Painting" where his pictures were
exhibited side by side with works by Picasso, Matisse, Braque and Derain.
In 1943 the first personal exhibition of Pollock was held. The master
absolutely refused to render in his works reality, he strived to depict
only his state. He started to use the technique that he himself invented
called "dripping" that consisting in squeezing and spraying drops of paint
right from the paint tube on to the canvas.
The years from 1948 to 1954 were the period when the fame of Pollock
grew immensely. In the late 1940-s he participated in the protests of
the abstractionist artists against the concervative Museum of Modern Art.
He displayed his paintings together with Willem de Kooning, Robert Maserwell,
Franz Kline and other painters known in the art history as the members
of the "New York School". One of the critics called this group "astract
expressionists" and it was this trend of American art that first became
known worldwide and influenced European art.
In 1950 the magazine "Art News" published a series of photos by Hans
Namuth showing Jackson Pollock at work that caused a sensation in the
world. The artist was represented when he put canvases on subframes on
the floor, then sprayed paints from the tubes on the canvas with convulsive
movements. In 1950 Pollock had a great success on the Venetian Biennale.
At this time the artist painted such pictures as "Autumn Rythm", " Lilac
Mist", "Galaxy" and "White Light".
The "White Light" (1954) represented at the exhibition in the State Hermitage
was practically the last large painting of Jackson Pollock. During the
last two years of his life his hands almost never touched the brush. On
August 11, 1956 Pollock died in a car crash.