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Jackson Pollock
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 Pollock.

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.


"White Light" (fragment)
Jackson Pollock
Larger view


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