JACKSON  POLLOCK     
         1912–1956

Jackson Pollock Although Hans Namuth was initially reluctant to photograph Jackson Pollock, an artist he considered overrated, he became fascinated by both the man and his art. Namuth followed this first session with more than five hundred photographs of Pollock at work, as well as a short black-and-white film and a color film in which he famously captured Pollock from below, painting on a sheet of glass. Influenced by Jungian psychology, theories of the unconscious, and the work of Surrealists such as Joan Miró, Pollock abandoned figurative painting for pure abstraction. His unconventional methods—laying his canvas on the floor, walking on it, flinging and drizzling paint as he went—led some to accuse his work of arbitrariness. As spontaneous as his painting could be, however, Pollock remained attentive to design and profoundly concerned with rhythm and harmony, or as he emphatically stated, "No chaos damn it!"

Hans Namuth (1915–1990)
Gelatin silver prints, 1950
From a series published May 1951
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Estate of Hans Namuth

©Estate of Han Namuth


Portrait of the Art World: A Century of ARTnews Photographs
National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian Institution

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