Jackson Pollock was a prominent vanguard artist of the New York School who brought Abstract Expressionism (Rosenberg, 1959) to the forefront of the American art scene and whose radical work revived interest in Impressionism (Naifeh & Smith, 1991). …
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Dying at the age of 44, his work has become even more influential after his death, and many people can define and recognize a ‘Pollock’ for its unique and interesting style (Emmerling, 2003). Having had posthumous exhibitions at galleries such as the Tate Modern in London and MoMA in New York, Pollock can rightly be said to be one of the most influential modern artists, and as such his work will have inspired and influenced many others. Having this much power and influence, any art that his work references will be of interest to many, and as such Pollock can be said to have caused a revival of interest in Impressionism. Jackson Pollock, Lavender Mist: Number 1, 1950 The end of World War II created a feeling of alienation and disillusionment in the broader society (Shapiro, 2000). Vanguard artists, believing they are ‘one of the most moral and idealistic of beings’ turned to their art instead for ‘self-discovery, freedom of belief and action, and autonomous, honest creation’ (Sandler, 1978). The canvas became ‘an arena in which to act’ and to express emotions (Rosenberg, 1959). Moreover, ‘The gesture on the canvas was a gesture of liberation from value – political, aesthetic, moral’ (Rosenberg, 1959). ...
‘part of it during creation’ (West, 1996) and that ‘No artist among the Abstract Expressionists is more open about revealing the stages that led up to the surface we see’ (Varnedoe and Karmel, 2002). Pollock’s beliefs shaped his art and his biggest contribution to the revival of Impressionism and subsequent art movements in the 60s (De Zegher, 2005) and even the Feminist Movement (Nochlin, 2006) was ‘Pollock’s radical approach to painting’ for it revolutionized the potential for all contemporary art that followed him’ (Varnedoe and Karmel, 2002). To understand how Pollock is related to Impressionism, both its contribution to his work and vice versa, it is necessary to understand the movement itself. Impressionism is a late 19th century art movement based mainly in Paris (in contrast to Pollock’s 20th century New York). The main defining factor of Impressionist art work is that the paint is applied quickly and in thick strokes (Clancy, 2003) which means that the focus is on the emotions and atmosphere of the subject rather than the technical details of the piece (Herbert, 1991). The original Impressionism focused mainly on ordinary subject matter, and this is recognizable within the painting (Herbert, 1991). Another factor involved in the definition of Impressionism is that the paint colors are applied to the canvas without mixing where possible, relying on biological and psychological processes within the eye to bring them together (Clancy, 2003). Jackson Pollock, Blue Poles Number II, 1952 Bearing these details in mind, it becomes easier to see how Pollock can be seen as an extension of Impressionism and invoking a revival of it; ‘turning from the formal means of Impressionism to its expressive character, and its social and cultural
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