Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)
Number 27, 1950
Oil, enamel, and aluminum paint on canvas
Overall: 49 1/16 × 106 1/16 in. (124.6 × 269.4 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase
Rights and Reproductions Information
© artist or artist’s estate
The intricate skeins of paint in Number 27, 1950 record Jackson Pollock’s movements as he dripped, poured, and flung ordinary house paint onto a large, unstretched canvas tacked to the floor. There is an extraordinary variety of marks in the painting: black background puddles are covered by lyrical lines of ochre and pink, as well as a calligraphic thicket of white, bronze, and silver paint. Pollock’s gestural marks dissolve all discrete and figurative elements into an all-over composition that evenly covers the entire surface of the canvas. Discussing his unprecedented technique, Pollock remarked: “On the floor I am more at ease. 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.” His emphasis on spontaneity, and the idea that a work revealed itself to the artist in the process of its creation, helped elevate the act of painting to a level of importance equal to that of the finished picture. This shift, a decisive one in the history of art, would profoundly influence scores of subsequent artists.