by Dr. Lori Verderame
Jackson Pollock is one of the most controversial artists in American art history. A member of the group of artists associated with Abstract Expressionism, Pollock and his circle were known as members of the New York School. Pollock made his mark with innovative drip paintings and non-objective works of art based on renewal themes, mythology, and the current state of the world following World War II.
Jackson Pollock’s wife Lee Krasner was vital to Pollock’s artistic growth as she shared her intuitive background in art and art history with Pollock. Krasner’s background and knowledge of the New York art world as well as her art training with European master, Hans Hoffman, helped to guide Pollock in the studio and beyond. Her ability to control Pollock as necessary and to entice the circle of critics around them proved paramount to his career. She was seen as a personal and social tour de force, but she should have also been viewed as an artistic one for she was a talented artist in her own right.
The important criticism of Clement Greenberg, who was a great advocate of formalism in Pollock’s work, came to characterize and define the New American Painting at mid- century. He explained through his articles in the Nation and The Partisan Review that Pollock represented the future of art, freeing it from the traditional easel paintings to the large scale and imposing mural. Pollock was interested in new results via painting, but he was also interested in working through the history of Surrealism and French modernism to capture a brand of truly American painting. Pollock’s American remains important to today’s contemporary art world.