Updated 23 May 2023
Currently not on display
Currently not on display
Number 8, 1951 "Black Flowing"
|Materials and Techniques||enamel on cotton canvas|
|Size（cm）||140 x 185|
|Inscriptions||Signed and dated lower right in charcoal: Jackson Pollock 51|
|Credit Line||Donated by Yamamura Family|
|Standard ref.||O'Conne/Thaw 327|
Between 1951 and 1952, Jackson Pollock created a number of monochrome works that employ dripped black enamel on blank canvas. The works in the "Black and White" series were greeted with great surprise and discouragement when they were displayed for the first time in November 1951 in Pollock's one-man show at the Betty Parsons Gallery. His previous drippings abstract paintings, with their colors covering the entire surface, were transformed into paintings that were solely black in color, with some return of representational motifs. In this work there appears to be some sort of four-legged creature visible. While experiments have been made with the interpretation of the symbolism of these forms as some sort of "hidden image," it does not necessarily mean that they can be interpreted as specific objects. Some critics raise the theory that Pollock's dejection at the fact the only work sold at his one-man show the previous year was bought by a friend, combined with his alcoholism, led to his change to black forms during this period. There is another theory that he was hesitant about the new ground he opened with his pourings, and that in these paintings Pollock was turning towards representational things in the face of unease about descending into stylization and atrophy. It has also been suggested that the "Black and White" series was his contribution to a specific project, Tony Smith's church. However, what is more important than a search for the causative, what floats in the background of this massive change by Pollock, which can be considered an extinction of his earlier works, is connected to his awareness of issues. Pollock questioned the dualist argument of the figurative or the anti-figurative, and that applied to his pourings paintings. Examples can be found in the Ohara Museum of Art's Cut Out, 1948-50 and Stuttgart's Out of the Web: Number 7, 1949. The "Black and White" series can be also considered an extension of Pollock's search for the dualistic, and should be seen as the heightening of the figurative within his methods. (Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no.122)
Betty Parsons Gallery; Michel Tapié, Paris; Comte Philippe Dotremont, Brussels; Donated by Haru & Takutaro Yamamura, Nishinomiya.
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- Masterpieces: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2013 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 124, col. repr.
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