Recent Articles
Are you daring enough to opt for op art?
Living With Art
Energetic, High Spirited and Downright Dynamic – Are You Daring Enough to Opt for Op Art?
Invite a few new faces in, via contemporary portraiture
Close Look
Invite a Few New Faces Into Your home Via Contemporary Portraiture
Trevor Paglen talks about his new show Bloom
Q&A
Trevor Paglen: ‘Bloom was put together in a moment of death and mourning, a moment when the fragility of our lives and institutions is in sharp focus.’
Eye on the suburbs? Here's some art that works outside the city
Living With Art
Eye on the suburbs? Then consider some art that works outside the inner city
It's Time to Take Cartoon Art a Little More Seriously
Living With Art
It's Time to Take Cartoon Art a Little More Seriously
Bring New York and London's Fashion Weeks Into Your Home
On Trend
Bring New York and London's Fashion Weeks Into Your Home With These Elegant Artworks
The Artspace Group Show: The City
Living With Art
The Artspace Group Show: The City
Fall for Your Walls: Bring an Autumnal Aspect to Your Collection
Expert Eye
Fall for Your Walls: Bring an Autumnal Aspect to Your Collection
The Artspace Group Show: Science Fiction
Living With Art
The Artspace Group Show: Science Fiction
The Artspace Group Show: The Sea
Living With Art
The Artspace Group Show: The Sea
5 Great Pieces on Women's Equality Day
Expert Eye
Rhinestones, Sequins, Paint, Photography and Linocuts - 5 Great Pieces on Women's Equality Day
Broaden Out Into New Media With These Innovative Works
Expert Eye
Beyond Two Dimensions: Add New Media To Your Collection With These Innovative Works
INTERVIEW: Wolfgang Tillmans
Q&A
INTERVIEW: Wolfgang Tillmans: ‘Classic photography seemed so remote, so irrelevant to me. It just didn’t touch me'
INTERVIEW: Mark Bradford
Q&A
INTERVIEW: Mark Bradford: ‘Everybody should have a little protection, a little cover, a little bit of a net and society should give it to us'
Paul McCarthy 'I suspect they're disturbed when ketchup is blood'
Q&A
INTERVIEW: Paul McCarthy: 'My work refers to my private, forgotten or repressed memories. I recognize them as existing, but I am not sure how they relate to me. Are they specifically my trauma, or someone else’s?'

Art Bytes

Watch a Canvas-Eye View of Jackson Pollock's Painting in Action

By

Watch a Canvas-Eye View of Jackson Pollock's Painting in Action
Still from Pollock Painting (1951) by Hans Namuth

Sixty-five years ago, in the waning days of the summer of 1950, the Harper’s Bazaar photographer Hans Namuth visited the Springs studio of the famously reclusive painter Jackson Pollock to take a few shots of the artist at work. Four months, two films, and hundreds of photographs later, Namuth had produced what are now the most iconic images of Pollock, revealing to a curious (and often incredulous) public just how the master of the drip, splatter, and pour made his paintings. 

Of particular note in this collection is Namuth’s short film Pollock Painting (1951), which renders the painter’s highly physical process of painting on the ground in full color, complete with commentary from the artist himself and a classical music score. Namuth even arranged for Pollock to paint on a glass pane with a camera filming beneath it, to give viewers a canvas-eye view of the artist at work (a technique also memorably employed with an upright pane in Cluzot's Le Mystère Picasso of 1954). 

Image 0Number 29, 1950 (1950), the painting Pollock made on glass for the film

The film and the images around it have been credited with giving rise to Process Art, where the physical actions around artistic creation are documented and foregrounded as integral to the finished piece. It had an international impact, influencing Yves Klein and members of the Japanese Gutai group among others. Painting-as-performance is just as relevant today, in our age of live-streaming, with contemporary artists such as Ei Arakawa and Korakrit Arunanondchai making paintings before audiences at staged events. 

Namuth’s documentation also positioned Pollock as one of the first mass-media-driven celebrity artists, in no small part due to Pollock’s icy-cool presentation of himself in the film. Dressed all in black, with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth and a serious, almost pained expression on his face, the image of Pollock at work defined the tortured artistic genius for years to come. 

Indeed, some art historians mark Pollock’s performance for the camera as the beginning of his demise. As the story goes, Pollock was so perturbed by the filming process that, upon its conclusion, he promptly got into a yelling fight with Namuth, overturned the dinner table (where his wife and fellow Abstract Expressionist Lee Krasner and several guests were seated) and poured himself a glass of bourbon, his first in two years after more than a decade of battling alcoholism. Six years later, the painter was killed in a drunk-driving accident. Is Namuth’s interest in the painter’s process to blame for this downward spiral? We'll never know what part it played, but the possibility haunts this otherwise entrancing film.

DISCOVER

a treasure trove of fine art from the world's most renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else.

LEARN

through exclusive content featuring art news, collecting guides, and interviews with artists, dealers, collectors, curators and influencers.

BUY

authentic artworks from across the globe. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place.

CONNECT

with our art advisors for buying advice or to help you find the art that's perfect for you. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs.

INSIDER ACCESS TO THE WORLD'S BEST ART

Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. Collecting with us helps support creative culture while bringing you art news, interviews and access to global art resources.

  • COLLECT FROM 300+ GALLERIES & MUSEUMS