Figure, 1948

This work is a so-called “dripping”, a painting technique developed by Pollock himself in which he let the paint drip onto the horizontally laid out surface. Pollock thus repudiated all of the painterly techniques recognised up to that point in time. The motif evolved in the process of an interplay between chance, spontaneity, and calculation.

“Figure” is one of the earliest works in which Pollock tried out this method. He had to work quickly in order to control the course of the viscous enamel paint – the faster the artist moved his hand, the thinner the lines appear. Loops, twists, waves, and blobs ultimately give rise to a whole – in this case to a figure. It triggers all sorts of associations, also with wire sculptures such as the one by Alexander Calder, which is known to have stood in Pollock’s studio.

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018
Photo: Städel Museum – U. Edelmann – ARTOTHEK

Enamel paint on handmade laid paper
785 × 575 mm
Inv. No. 16341
Property of the Städelscher Museums-Verein e. V.

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