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By 1951, Pollock had achieved considerable success with his dripped and poured abstract painting, and was widely regarded as the leading young American artist. Perhaps fearing that he was reaching an impasse in his work, he embarked on a series of black and white paintings in which figures emerge, as they had in his early works. After rolling the canvas out on the floor, he would apply the paint - usually industrial enamel paint - with sticks and basting syringes, which he wielded ‘like a giant fountain pen’, according to his wife, Lee Krasner.

July 2008