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Jackson Pollock

January 28, 1912 - August 11, 1956


American artist, Jackson Pollock (1912–1956) was born in January on the 28th in 1912 in Cody, Wyoming. He was the fifth and youngest son in the family. His family settled in Los Angeles, California when he was young. His mother thought he had potential and he was tutored in art before he could be enrolled in the Manual Arts High School. He was later kicked out of this school and attended the Arts Student League in New York. Here, he was able to learn from other artists, such as Thomas Benton, and photographers. He studied Benton’s techniques and incorporated some of those techniques into his own style of painting. While he was learning much at the Arts Student League, he also learned from the Modernism movement as well.

Inspired by the Navajo sand artwork, Asian calligraphy, Picasso’s most fearful works as well as his own inner thoughts and feelings, he invented the style called “splatter-painting.” He would lay a stretched canvas on the ground and circle it, looking at it from all angles and flicking paint from his brush onto the canvas. While he worked, he would have a cigarette in his mouth, wear paint-stained boots, and have a glass of alcohol next to him.

In the 1930’s and 1940’s, Pollock assisted the Federal Arts Project, a part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Subsequent work with Mexican muralists changed his art significantly, from Regionalism to Abstract Expressionism. In 1943, he had a solo exhibition at the Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery and, in 1945, he married artist Lee Krasner and they moved to Long Island, where he continued to splatter-paint. Pollock died on August 11th in 1956, at the age of 44, in a car crash, of which he was the driver and sole fatality. He is renowned to this day as the artist who invented splatter-painting and his works hang in many a museum.

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