A Problem for Critics


Exam 1 will open on Blackboard September 24, and must be submitted by 11:59 PM on September 27












Jackson Pollock, Mural, 1943. 8' X 19'.











Consider that these two American works were made in 1948 and purchased by MoMA in 1949.
Andrew Wyeth, Christina's World, 1948.
Jackson Pollock, No. 5, 1948.











Number 1

Jackson Pollock, Number 1, 1949.





















  • Painted horizontally, on the floor
Pollock working
  • Used house paint and sticks instead of traditional artist's materials
  • Works intuitively with an automatist technique
automatism = technique whereby the usual intellectual control of the artist over the brush is foregone. The artist's aim is to allow the subconscious to create the artwork without rational reference.
  • Considers space in a completely new way
  • Rejects Renaissance perspective
  • All-over composition
  • Painted gestures move across the picture plane instead of attempting the illusion of moving through it
  • The painter painting becomes the painting's subject
Jackson Pollock at work, 1950
"He transformed the obligation for social relevance, a pervasive current between the wars, into an unrelenting moral commitment to a search for the self." - Jonathan Fineberg











Pollock's barn studio floor, preserved











"My opinion is that new needs need new techniques…the modern painter cannot express his age, the airplane, the atom bomb, the radio in the old forms of the Renaissance…the modern artist is living in a mechanical age…working and expressing an inner world - in other words, expressing the energy, the motion, and other inner forces." - Jackson Pollock

Construction with Boiled Beans

Autumn rhythm

Salvador Dali, Consruction with Boiled Beans, 1936.
Jackson Pollock, Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), 1950.











Pollock and Krasner in the studio

Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner in the studio. 1949.











The Third Hand

Hans Hofmann:
"You don't work from nature.  You work by heart. This is no good.  You will repeat yourself."
Jackson Pollock: 
"I am nature... Put up or shut up.  Your theories don't interest me."
Hans Hofmann, The Third Hand, 1947.











Highest praise given to Krasner by Hofmann:
"This painting is so good you'd never know it was done by a woman."


Image Surfacing

Hans Hofmann, Bachanale, 1946.
Lee Krasner, Image Surfacing, c. 1945.











In 2004, Image Surfacing sold at auction for $153,000.
In 2006, David Geffen sold Pollock's No. 5 to David Martinez in a private sale, for $140 million, making it the most expensive work of art at the time.

Image Surfacing

Lee Krasner, Image Surfacing, c. 1945.
Jackson Pollock, No. 5, 1948.












Lee Krasner, Noon, 1947.











Lee Krasner, Shattered Color, 1947.
Lee Krasner, Prophecy, 1956.











Stills from the film Jackson Pollock
Hans Namuth and Paul Falkenberg, Stills from the film, Jackson Pollock. 1950.











Lee Krasner, Birth, 1956. 83 X 48 inches.











Easter Lillies

Lee Krasner, Easter Lilies, 1956. Oil on cotton duck, 48 1/4 X 60 1/2 inches.











Lee Krasner, The Seasons, 1957. 7 3/4' X 17'.











Willem de Kooning, Still Life, c. 1921.
Willem de Kooning, Seated Woman, 1940.











The Artist and His Mother

Arshile Gorky, The Artist and His Mother, 1926 - 1936.
Willem de Kooning, Seated Woman, 1940.











Pink Angels

Willem de Kooning, Pink Angels, 1945.












Wilem de Kooning, Excavation, 1950.











Willem de Kooning, Interchange, 1955.
Willem de Kooning, Police Gazette, 1955.





















Willem de Kooning, Seated Woman, 1940.
Willem de Kooning, Woman I, 1952.











Woman of Willendorf, Austria, ca. 28,000 - 25,000 BCE. Limestone, 4 3/8" high.











"Pleasure only starts once the worm has got into the fruit, to become delightful happiness must be tainted with poison."  - Georges Bataille

Woman and Bicycle

Vagina dentata = Latin for toothed vagina. Various cultures have folk tales about women with toothed vaginas, frequently told as cautionary tales warning of the dangers of sex with strange women.
Niki Minaj Turn Me On
Willem de Kooning, Woman and Bicycle, 1952 - 1953.











Willem and Elaine de Kooning

"To establish once and for al that I did not pose for these ferocious women. I was taken aback to discover in Hans' photograph that I and the painted lady seemed like…mother and daughter. We're even smiling the same way." - Elaine de Kooning

Hans Namuth, Willem and Elaine de Kooning 1953.