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Jackson Pollock

/Works and biography

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The Moon Woman, 1942
Oil on canvas, 175.2 x 109.3 cm
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 76.2553 PG 141
© Jackson Pollock, by SIAE 2008


Like other members of the New York School, Jackson Pollock was influenced in his early work by Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso, and seized on the Surrealists’ concept of the unconscious as the source of art. In the late 1930s Pollock introduced imagery based on totemic or mythic figures, ideographic signs, and ritualistic events. The Moon Woman recalls Picasso, particularly in its palette and composition. The subject of the moon woman, which Pollock treated in several drawings and paintings of the early 1940s, could have been available to him from various sources. At this time many artists, among them Pollock’s friends William Baziotes and Robert Motherwell, were influenced by the fugitive, hallucinatory imagery of Charles Baudelaire and the French Symbolists. In his prose poem “Favors of the Moon” Baudelaire addresses the “image of the fearful goddess, the fateful godmother, the poisonous nurse of all the moonstruck of the world.” Although it is possible that Pollock knew the poem, it is likelier that he was affected in a more general way by the interest in Baudelaire and the Symbolists that was pervasive during the period.

credits: Hangar Design Group