What Makes an Abstract Expressionist Painting Good?
One of thirty-two paintings in Pollock's 1950 solo exhibition at Betty Parson's New York gallery, Number 1 (Lavender Mist) was the only painting that sold. Despite critical praise and media attention, the artist did not garner sales of his famous drip paintings until later in his career. Pollock titled several paintings Number 1, and coded them with alternate titles. Thus, Number 1 (1949) and One, Number Thirty One, are closely related but upon close viewing differ slightly. Number 1 (Lavender Mist) exemplifies gestural abstraction, in which paint was poured or applied with extreme physicality to reflect the artist's inner mind. The color is expressive, while space is created through alternative layers and drips of opaque paint, creating a textured canvas surface that is nearly dizzying.
Signature: upper right: [two hand prints of the artist]; lower left: Jackson Pollock '50
1950 Jackson Pollock Exhibition, Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, 1950.
1961 Jackson Pollock, Kunsthaus, Zurich, 1961, no. 8, repro.
1967 Jackson Pollock, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1967, no. 45, repro.
1978 American Art at Mid-Century: The Subjects of the Artist, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1978.
1982 Jackson Pollock, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1982, no. 264, repro.
1996 Abstraction in the Twentieth Century: Total Risk, Freedom, Discipline, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1996, fig. 106.
1998 Jackson Pollock, Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Britain, London, 1998-1999, no. 174, repro.
2013 Angels, Demons, and Savages: Pollock, Ossorio, Dubuffet, The Phillips Collection, Washington; Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, 2013, no. 4, repro. (shown only in Washington).
1959 O'Hara, Frank. Jackson Pollock. New York, 1959:26, repro. 53
1960Robertson, Bryan. Jackson Pollock. New York, 1960: 20, repro.
1962Ashton, Dore. The Unknown Shore: A View of Contemporary Art. Boston, 1962: repro. 125
1965Sawyer, Kenneth B. "The Artist as Collector: Alfonso Ossorio." Studio International 196, no. 863 (March 1965):109
1971Plessix, Francine du. "Opulence and Discrimination: Alfonso Ossorio." in Lipman, Jean, ed. The Collector in America. New York, 1971:202, repro.
1973Johnson, Ellen. "Jackson Pollock and nature." Studio International 185, no. 956: 262, repro.
1974Blake, Peter. "Ossorio." Architecture Plus. 2, no. 1 (January/February 1974):68, repro.
1977Richard, Paul. "The Field Painting As a Metaphor For the Mind of Modern Man." The Washington Post. (May 29, 1977): E2, repro.
1978King, Marian. Adventures in Art: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1978: 116, pl. 75., as Lavender Mist.
1979Watson, Ross. The National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1979: 134, pl. 120.
1980American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 210, repro.
1980Rosenzweig, Phyllis. The Fifties: Aspects of Painting in New York. Washington, DC:13, repro.
1980Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980: 18, 19, no. 63, color repro.
1981Williams, William James. A Heritage of American Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1981: color repro. 222, detail 232,
1982Hughes, Robert. "An American Legend in Paris." Time (1 February 1982): 70-71, repro. [exhibition review]
1982Wilson, Simon. "Jackson Pollock at the Beaubourg." The Burlington Magazine (May 1982): 316.
1984Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 614, no. 949, color repro.
1988Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. Rev. ed. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1988: 192, no. 73, color repro.
1991Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 263, color repro.
1992American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 263, repro.
1992Fiero, Gloria K. The Global Village of the Twentieth Century The Humanistic Tradition 6. 1st ed. [7th ed. 2015] Dubuque, Iowa, 1992: 89, repro.
1992National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 266, repro.
1997Hughes, Robert. American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America. New York, 1997: 486-487, color fig. 287.
2000Torres, Louis and Michelle Marder Kamhi. What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand. Peru, Illinois, 2000: 407, nt. 159.
2004Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 436-439, no. 360, color repros.
2009Cooper, Harry. The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection: Selected Works. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2009: 7.
2009Gariff, David, Eric Denker, and Dennis P. Weller. The World's Most Influential Painters and the Artists They Inspired. Hauppauge, NY, 2009: 172-173, color repro.
2010Monet y la abstracción. Exh. cat. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, 2010: 33, 34 fig. 16.
Purchased 1951 from the artist through (Betty Parsons Gallery, New York) by Edward F. Dragon and Alfonso A. Ossorio [1916-1990], East Hampton, New York; purchased 1976 through (Thomas Gibson Fine Art Ltd., London) by NGA.
Major Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock, dubbed "Jack the Dripper" by Time magazine in 1956, is best known for his large "action" or drip paintings of 1947–52, formed by pouring and manipulating liquid paint atop canvases set on the floor. A wholly original, rule-shattering figure in American art, Pollock inspired Frank Stella, Richard Serra, and the Color Field painters. Pollock's early Surrealist works of personal symbols and abstract figures show the influence of José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Joan Miró, and Max Ernst, as well as his experiences with Jungian psychotherapy.
American, 1912-1956, Cody, Wyoming, based in East Hampton, New York
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