Artists working from the 1940s until the early 1960s whose approach to painting, (splashing, using gestural brushstrokes and dripping paint onto canvas rather than carefully applying it), emphasized the physical act of painting as an essential part of the finished work

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  • Jackson Pollock, 'Number 23' 1948

    Jackson Pollock
    Number 23 1948
    Enamel on gesso on paper
    support: 575 x 784 mm frame: 651 x 861 x 42 mm
    Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery (purchased out of funds provided by Mr and Mrs H.J. Heinz II and H.J. Heinz Co. Ltd) 1960 ARS, NY and DACS, London 2002

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  • Arshile Gorky, 'Waterfall' 1943

    Arshile Gorky
    Waterfall 1943
    Oil on canvas
    support: 1537 x 1130 mm frame: 1713 x 1308 x 87 mm
    Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1971 ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2002

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  • Willem De Kooning, 'Women Singing II' 1966

    Willem De Kooning
    Women Singing II 1966
    Oil on paper laid on canvas
    support: 914 x 610 mm frame: 690 x 990 x 65 mm
    Presented by the artist through the American Federation of Arts 1970 Willem de Kooning Revocable Trust/ARS, NY and DACS, London 2002

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The term ‘action painting’ was coined by Harold Rosenberg in his groundbreaking articleThe American Action Painters published in ARTnews in December 1952.

Rosenberg was referring to artists such as Arshile Gorky, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, and Jackson Pollock.