The exhibition of Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-1956)’s paintings features Number 2, 1949, from the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art; Number 13A, 1948: Arabesque, from the Yale University Art Gallery; and Number 7, 1950, from New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). A specially designed plinth exposes the back of Number 2, 1949, allowing visitors to see beneath the surface of this monumental, sixteen-foot painting. The exhibition also considers Pollock’s use of the frieze format and how it affects the composition, style, and ultimately, the meaning of those works. The exhibition demonstrates the range of Pollock’s drip technique, and likewise merges the expertise of conservators and curators to shed light on Pollock’s drip-painting method, choice of unconventional materials, and his stylistic evolution. As part of the exhibition, Number. 2, 1949 was treated by the Williamstown Art Conservation Center.
Jackson Pollock at Williams College
About the artist
Paul Jackson Pollock is a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement and considered one of the greatest American artists. He was born in Cody, Wyoming, in 1912. In 1930, he went to New York City to study with Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League. In 1936, Pollock was introduced to the use of liquid paints when he was attending a workshop led by the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. He developed his signature “drip” technique, painting with the canvases laid out on the floor. As he is an innovative artist known for his technique, he also had a notorious reputation as mentally volatile and struggled with alcoholism for most of his life. After he died of a car accident in 1956 at the age of 44, he was honored with major retrospectives in numerous institutions including MoMA and The Tate Modern, and his reputation and legacy are carried on to the day.