Shiny Pollocks: An Amazing Jackson Pollock Catalogue

I found this on one of our bookshelves today (I didn't even know we had it, which shows you how utterly vast the Standard Designs Memorial Library is). It's an exhibition catalogue from 1964: Jackson Pollock at Marlborough-Gerson in New York.

It was a pretty extensive show by the looks of things. 149 pieces are listed, and look at that - 'some of the works in this exhibition are for sale'. So, time to go shopping. First though, check out the cover in detail:

It's a silver-coated card cover with a transparent plastic sleeve onto which is printed the text and artwork (the strange patterns beneath that are just from ageing, humidity etc., though they have their own appropriately Pollock-like look). It's an absolutely up-to-the-minute cover for 1964, which suggests a canny move on the part of Marlborough, who have always been masters of promoting their artists: sell work which is getting past its Best Before date using the very Pop Art tools that are killing it off.

Inside, the pieces start with his 1933 Self Portrait (the potato-headed one), and trundle on through his post Thomas Hart Benson phase before kicking into the really good stuff around 1946 from halfway. There's quite a bit of good, but also some of the forehead-slapping moves that occurred increasingly (poor chap, I do feel for him) towards the end of his career.

I love his simple black-paint-on-white work a lot, even after the 1940s, and this one fits right in on my fantasy must-buy list. However...

...this 'Portrait And A Dream' stuff has always been the sign of someone desperate to break out of the corner they'd splashed themselves into, and it's difficult to look at in some ways. Though it's not totally without charm.

Much though I love anything from the late 1940s with a dark brown background, this, Jackson, is a real WTF?

But there are some hugely impressive works in amongst all this. Such as...

'Cathedral' from 1947, bang in the centre of his greatest period. I'd not seen this piece before, and it's stunning. 

I'm so glad I found this catalogue in our Library today - I've been looking at it all afternoon. Who knows what I'll find when I explore the East Wing (closed Thursdays)...?

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