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Jackson Pollock

Number 1, 1949

1949

Rejecting the easel, Jackson Pollock employed such unconventional tools as sticks, trowels, knives, and meat-basters to apply paint to canvases that lay directly on his studio floor. Controlling the distribution of paint by curtailing his own movements while splattering it onto the canvas, he choreographed a rhythmic application of color for each work. This unique method became known as Action painting, and its followers held that the act of making a work is inherent to its meaning. Number 1, 1949 was made with thinned paint and cans of commercial enamel. For it and other works of this period, Pollock rejected single points of reference and figural representation to create completely abstract all-over compositions.

Jackson Pollock (b. 1912, Cody, Wyoming; d. 1956, Springs, New York)
Number 1, 1949, 1949
Enamel and aluminum paint on canvas
63 x 104 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
The Rita and Taft Schreiber Collection, given in loving memory of her husband, Taft Schreiber, by Rita Schreiber

On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting. This is akin to the method of the Indian sand painters of the West. —Jackson Pollock