Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)
Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)


Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)
oil on canvas
15¼ x 22 in. (38.7 x 55.8 cm.)
Painted circa 1944.
The Estate of the Artist, New York
Lee Krasner Pollock, New York
Marlborough Gallery, New York
Toninelli Arte Moderna, Milan
F. O'Conner and E. Thaw, eds., Jackson Pollock, A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Drawings and Other Works, Volume I: Paintings, 1930-1947, London, 1978, pp. 110-111, no. 116 (illustrated).
A. Busignani, Pollock, Florence, 1970, pl. 21 (illustrated in color).
I. Tomassoni, Pollock, Florence, pl. 31 (illustrated in color).
London, Marlborough Fine Art Ltd., Jackson Pollock: Paintings, Drawings and Watercolors from the Collection of Lee Krasner Pollock, June 1961, no. 46.
Düsseldorf, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Kunsthalle, Jackson Pollock, September-October 1961, no. 72.
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Jackson Pollock, October-November 1961, no. 72. Rome, Marlborough Galleria d'Arte, Rome, Jackson Pollock, October-November 1962, no. 48.
Milan, Toninelli Art Moderno, Jackson Pollock, November-December 1962, no. 48.

Lot Essay

This work is being sold by an anonymous Italian collector with partial proceeds to benefit the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).

"There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my pictures didn't have any beginning or any end. He didn't mean it as a compliment, but it was. It was a fine compliment. Only he didn't know it."
(Jackson Pollock as quoted in S. Hunter, "An American Master: Jackson Pollock, 1930-1949 Myth and Reality," Jackson Pollock: The Irascibles and the New York School, Milan, 2002, 60)

Horse, completed in 1944, is an early work of Jackson Pollock, the famed posterboy for the Abstract Expressionist movement. Although the work does not resemble his signature drip-paintings, it exhibits Pollock's artistic origins, points to his diverse artistic influences and predicts his breakthrough evolution. The legendary and influential curator Sam Hunter remarks, the "artist was aware of just what he was doing and cognizant of the importance of artistic traditions and the need, too, for reinventing them" (S. Hunter, p. 60). The bold, visually striking painting displays the influences of European masters such as Mir and Picasso as well as Pollock's early interest in symbols and mythologies in relation to nature.

The present lot depicts a horse set in a background of vivid, cerulean blue. Pollock's geometric rendering of the animal clearly reflects the influences of Cubism, though his color palette remains vibrant and pure, which infuses the work with a playful spirit. Furthermore, Pollock's method of mark-making by scratching into the paint rather than adding to it references a sort of primitivism and universality that is often associated with nature. The horse is transformed into a mythical creature-poised, timeless and wise.

Though Pollock remains fairly representational in Horse, his interest in abstraction is clearly visible in his use of non-local colors, universal symbols such as the crescent moon, and innovative mark-making. In just a few years, Pollock would create his signature drip paintings, a development that drastically altered the course of art history. In that way, Horse predicts the artist's dramatic transformation and provides a clear understanding of the artist's artistic origins and influences.

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