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Number 1, 1949

1949

  • Medium

    Enamel and metallic paint on canvas

  • Dimensions

    Frame (wood): 63 5/8 x 103 x 1 13/16 in. (161.61 x 261.62 x 4.6 cm)63 x 102 1/2 x 2 1/8 in. (160.02 x 260.35 x 5.4 cm)
    Image: 63 x 102 1/2 in. (160.02 x 260.35 cm)

  • Accession number

    89.23

  • Object label

    ​Jackson Pollock made Number 1, 1949 by pouring paint from cans and splattering it from the tips of sticks over an unstretched canvas lying on his studio floor. Because of this orientation, Pollock was physically within the field of the canvas as he spontaneously, rhythmically applied paint. Some critics of the time considered such painting an “arena for action.” Number 1, 1949 and other drip paintings made Pollock the poster boy of abstract expressionism, and the paintings’ dramatic breaks with tradition garnered him international attention. His novel techniques of dispensing with easel, palette, and brush; substituting house and industrial paints for high-quality oils; working on the horizontal plane of the floor; and dispersing the focal point all over the composition to ceaselessly lead the viewer’s eye through webs of color were immediately recognized as inaugurating a new type of abstraction.