Saturday, December 6, 2014

Jackson Pollock by Helen A. Harrison

The Parrish Art Museum hosted a book signing for Helen A. Harrison in honor of the recent publication of her Jackson Pollock monograph. Harrison, an art historian and former curator of both the Parrish Art Museum and Guild Hall is the current director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in East Hampton. A lecturer and writer of countless scholarly articles and reviews as well as books, this beautiful book should be the cornerstone of any exploration of Jackson Pollock. 
I loved this book. It serves as both an introduction and a summation. It whets the appetite to discover more while distilling biographical details down to the most essential. It is filled with thought provoking commentary which enabled me to better appreciate Pollock's artistic journey. I had never seen this photo of the young Paul Jackson Pollock.
Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) c1928
Archives of American Art 
Smithsonian Collection
image via
I found these images particularly compelling.
Self Portrait by Jackson Pollock c1930-3
oil on gesso ground on canvas, mounted on composition board
7 1/4 " x 5 1/4" The Pollock-Kranser Foundation, Inc. New York
image via
Croaking Movement  by Jackson Pollock, 1946
(Sounds in the Grass Series)
Oil on Canvas
54" x 44 1/8"
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
Portrait and a Dream by Jackson Pollock, 1953
oil on canvas
58 1/2 " x 134 3/4"
Dallas Museum of Art
image via
Thank you Helen for properly reacquainting me with Jackson Pollock!

Helen A. Harrison website here
The book is available from Phaedon here
Phaedon Focus: Jackson Pollock Acknowledgements and Sources here

In Harrison's source material there is a reference to a quote by Pollock "energy and motion made visible" found on the back of a photograph of Pollock by Hans Namuth. I followed the source link and was excited to see the photograph of Pollock's handwritten statement on the Smithsonian Archives of American Art site. The book and its source materials will lead you to further exploration.
Jackson Pollock, handwritten statement, ca. 1950
pasted to the back of a photograph of Pollock by Hans Namuth
 Jackson Pollock-Lee Krasner Papers, 
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Box 6, folder 11, frame 9
The photo that Pollock inscribed.
photograph of Pollock by Hans Namuth 1950
 Jackson Pollock-Lee Krasner Papers
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Box 6, folder 11, frame 8
both images from here

technic is the result of a need 
new needs demand new technics 
total control  -  denial of
the accident 
states of order
organic intensity

energy and motion
made visible
memories arrested in space,
human needs and motives

Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock 51 by Hans Namuth
video via
Also by Helen A Harrison
click here for more info


  1. Looking forward to clicking on the links.. you are so well read!
    Handsome gentleman too..

  2. Loved this post about Jackson Pollock. Recently at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, they had a Jackson Pollack mural that had hung in Peggy Guggenheim's New York apartment. It had been restored by the Getty and part of the exhibition was a display of how it had been done. Just fascinating. Love Pollock's art!

  3. I appreciate his work the more I read about him and the more I learn about what else was going on at the time.


Thank you for your comments!