Artists Conservation USA

The truth about Pollock’s all-nighter

Research reveals just how long the artist worked on his Mural, which goes on show at the Getty today

Work on Jackson Pollock’s Mural at the Getty Conservation Institute

There seems to be at least some truth in the rumours that Jackson Pollock painted his first major commission from Peggy Guggenheim, his most ardent patron, in a single day. The Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Getty Conservation Institute have spent the past 18 months studying and treating Mural, 1943, a painting from the collection of the University of Iowa Museum of Art.

“It looks as if Pollock did finish some kind of initial composition over much of the canvas very rapidly, perhaps even in a single all-night session,” says Tom Learner, the conservation institute’s new head of science. “However, the majority of paint layers were not part of this session, and were frequently added over earlier applications of paint that had already dried, indicating that several days or even weeks would have passed between painting sessions.”

The research also shows that white house paint was used on areas of the canvas after Pollock completed the majority of the composition, and that it is unlikely that he dripped paint onto a horizontal canvas as it lay on the floor—a technique he used in other works.

Mural can be seen at the Getty in an exhibition about the research project (11 March-1 June).

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Comments

13 Mar 14
15:19 CET

GARY ORPHEY, PARKER, TEXAS

If any of you Pollock lovers want the entire piece just Email me @ texasdogpoet@gmail.com and I will send you the whole thing. I was hoping they would put it up as an short essay.

12 Mar 14
20:32 CET

RANDY OWENS, ELK GROVE

@Gary Orphey: Great tribute, beautifully written. Reminds me of Kerouac.

12 Mar 14
17:7 CET

ABINASH MODAK, KOLKATA

this news is very important to me .Thanks for your kindness this type news.thanks

11 Mar 14
21:17 CET

GARY ORPHEY, PARKER, TEXAS

Jackson © 2012 gary orphey Jackson you magnificent, stumbling, screaming, crying, ecstatic, depressed, son of a bitch you. You made love to your canvases. You made love to your bottle. You stumbled from stone to stone and never found daylight. You caressed your art until climax. “How do you know when you’ve finished painting,” you were asked. “How do you know when you’re through making love,” you replied. That’s what it was wasn’t it? It was the only connection you had with anything earthly. Without a bucket of paint and brush in your hand and the bottle that followed you were a crumpled, empty pack of cigarettes discarded on a lonely, fucking, forgotten highway. Alone in a crowd, surrounded by fame, as thin as air, you were never there. You hovered like a grounded Eagle over your aerie made of scrambled, calligraphic, nonsensical, mind bending, flowing, fluid, colorful, colorless, chaotic, art and somehow made it work.(I'll send the complete piece)

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