Catalogue entry

Jackson Pollock 1912-1956

T00384 Number 23 1948

Inscribed 'Jackson Pollock 48' b.r.
Enamel on gesso on paper, 22 5/8 x 30 7/8 (57.5 x 78.5)
Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery (purchased out of funds provided by Mr and Mrs H.J. Heinz II and the H.J. Heinz Co., Ltd.) 1960
Prov: Mr and Mrs Daniel Longwell, New York and Neosho (purchased from the artist through Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, 1949); purchased from them through Betty Parsons Gallery by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1960
Exh: Jackson Pollock, Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, January-February 1949 (no catalogue); What Businessmen collect, Guild Hall, East Hampton, July 1952 (no catalogue); Fine Arts Festival, Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, March 1957 (listed in brochure as 'Number 22'); Kompas 3, Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, November-December 1967 (45, repr.); Kompas New York, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, December 1967-February 1968 (43, repr.)
Lit: Francis Valentine O'Connor and Eugene Victor Thaw, Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Drawings and Other Works (New Haven-London 1978), No.199, Vol.2, p.20, repr. p.21
Repr: Studio, CLXII, 1961, p.45 Terry Measham, The Moderns 1945-1975 (Oxford 1976), pl.5

Executed in 1948, the second year of Pollock's drip paintings. It may be thought that the slight spread of the grey-black paint tracks was due to using a wet ground, but Lee Krasner (Mrs Pollock) says that her husband never worked like this, though he frequently applied paint with a basting syringe in order to obtain a long, continuous line. Fragments of a winged insect like a bee are embedded in the paint towards the upper right. Several other drip paintings also have objects embedded in them; for example 'Full Fathom Five' has paint-tube caps, and 'Blue Poles' has fragments of glass.

The 1948 works he exhibited at the Betty Parsons Gallery in January-February 1949 were numbered from 1 to 26, this one being No.23. It is one of about eleven paintings on paper done in this year, most of which were more or less this size.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.617, reproduced p.617