At the National Gallery of Art is Jackson Pollock's Mural which has three dates: 1943, 1944, and 1947. (The National Gallery says 1943.) Mural was donated to to the University of Iowa.by Peggy Guggenheim which loaned it to the National Gallery of Art. Pollock was born in Iowa, his parents' home /Photo by Patricia Leslie
One of the greatest paintings of the 20th century having its debut in Washington will come down this month after almost a year in residency at the National Gallery of Art.
The work is Mural and the artist is Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) who was commissioned by his benefactress, Peggy Guggenheim, to make it for her New York City townhouse.Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), Mural, the University of Iowa/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Since Ms. Guggenhein provided no direction for the work other than the size, Pollock had free subject rein but suffered "artist's block." His wife said he had to rush to finish it in a single day although the National Gallery says recent analysis supports the artist's statement, that he worked on it the summer of 1943.
Before Pollock met Guggenheim in the mid-1940s, he worked in maintenance for a New York museum which became the forerunner for one established by her uncle, Solomon Guggenheim. Pollock, desperate for cash, had followed his brother, Charles, also an artist, from California to New York where they both attended art school and studied under Thomas Hart Benton. Ms. Guggenheim invited Pollock to show his work in her New York gallery, a contract critical to his initial success.
Jackson Pollock (1912- 1956), a close-up of Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), 1950, National Gallery of Art also on view/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Pollock lived an alcoholic and died an alcoholic at age 44 in a single-car crash in East Hampton, killing one of his passengers, but the other, his mistress, survived. He was married at the time to the artist, Lee Krasner (1908-1984), also an abstract expressionist and one of only four women who has enjoyed retrospective shows at the Museum of Modern Art.
Krasner was critical to her husband's success and rescued him and his art more than once. One art dealer noted: "There would never have been a Jackson Pollock without Lee Pollock." (Note to National Museum of Women in the Arts and the National Gallery of Art: Please consider a showing of Krasner's works. I counted 21 in NGA's collection; none on view. Thank you.)
Mural is Pollock's largest canvas, almost 20 feet long and clearly one of his best. After seeing it, critic Clement Greenburg wrote, "I knew Jackson was the greatest painter this country had produced."
It is one of Pollock's "drip paintings" (leading to his nickname by Time, "Jack the Dripper") which he made before his peak years, 1947-1950. Not long afterwards, he abandoned "drips" and entered his "black" period, unpopular with collectors until Krasner helped steer him back to colors and figures.
In 2016 Mural's value was placed around $140 million. I think Worth a look!
What: Jackson Pollock's Mural and more.
When: The National Gallery of Art is open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sunday. The exhibition closes Sunday, October 28, 2018.
Where: East Building, Upper Level, Bridge, the National Gallery of Art, between Third and Ninth streets at Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. On the Mall.
Admission charge: It's always free at the National Gallery of Art.
Metro stations for the National Gallery of Art:
Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, Navy Memorial-Archives or L'Enfant Plaza
For more information: 202-737-4215