Art & History

Jackson Pollock by Hans Namuth 1951

When I am in my painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing. It is only after a sort of ‘get acquainted’ period that I see what I have been about. I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well.

—Jackson Pollock, My Painting, 1956

In the short film above, called Jackson Pollock 51, the American abstract painter talks about his work and creates one of his distinctive drip paintings before our eyes. The film was made by Hans Namuth when Pollock was 39 years old.

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