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Butler Art Museum Receives Jackson Pollock Painting
Jackson Pollock, "Silver and Black", 1950. Oil and metallic paint, 21.25 x 15.75 inches. ©Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
YOUNGSTOWN, OH.- The Butler Institute of American Art, has acquired a painting by mid-twentieth century master artist, Jackson Pollock. The work, titled "Silver and Black", measures 21.25 x 15.75 inches and was painted with oil and metallic paint in 1950. The painting, which is a gift from a Western Pennsylvania collector whose family acquired the work in 1958, is valued at two million dollars.

According to Butler Director Dr. Louis Zona, “This is indeed a very special holiday present, and I am still pinching myself about it. The Butler can now boast that we have a very rare work of art by America’s most renowned 20th century artist, a man who literally redefined world art. Pollock was a troubled genius whose magnificent art has engaged generations.”

Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) was known for a particular gestural style in which he would drip paint from a variety of tools to create a web of energetic strokes over the surface of a canvas. The Butler’s smallscale Pollock painting suggests a hieroglyphic-like central character, and may be considered a transitional work that predicts the later monumental drip paintings that garnered Pollock world-wide acclaim.

Born in Cody, Wyoming, Pollock began to study painting in 1929 at the Art Students' League, New York City, under the famed Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton. Throughout the 1930s, Pollock worked in the lyrical manner of Benton, and was further influenced by the Mexican muralist painter Diego Rivera, as well as by aspects of Surrealism, a philosophy of painting being espoused at that time.

From 1938 to 1942 Pollock was a part of the Federal Art Project of the New Deal. By the mid-1940s, the artist had adopted an abstract manner that led to his non-objective style. Later, instead of using the traditional easel, Pollock adhered canvas to the floor and poured and dripped paint from a can. He manipulated various types of paint with brushes, sticks, trowels or knives, and obtained a heavy impasto by adding sand, broken glass or other materials to his paint. Pollock’s “Action Painting” was derived from Surrealist theories (automatism), and strove to be a direct expression of the unconscious mind of the artist.

On Sunday, January 10, 2010, at 2 pm, Dr. Zona will give a gallery talk about artist Jackson Pollock and the new Butler acquisition of the artist’s work in the Butler’s Beecher Center Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is on a first come-first served basis.

The Butler’s Jackson Pollock painting, "Silver and Black", will be on view in the museum’s Beeghly-Schaff Gallery in Youngstown.

The Butler Institute of American Art | Jackson Pollock | Silver and Black | Dr. Louis Zona |


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