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Jackson Pollock

Number 27, 1950

1950

Artist

Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)

Title

Number 27, 1950

Date

1950

Medium

Oil, enamel, and aluminum paint on canvas

Dimensions

Overall: 49 1/16 × 106 1/16 in. (124.6 × 269.4 cm)

Credit line

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase

Accession number

53.12

Object Label

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.

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