Robert Motherwell: Early Colleages
ALCHEMY BY JACKSON POLLOCK. Discovering the Artist at Work

14 February – 14 September 2015
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Curated by Luciano Pensabene Buemi and Roberto Bellucci


[Pollock was] I think by far my most honorable achievement. (Peggy Guggenheim, Art of This Century [1979])



February 2015. After an absence of more than a year, and following examination, cleaning and conservation at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence, Alchemy returns to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection to be the focus of a documentary, scientific exhibition: Alchemy by Jackson Pollock. Discovering the Artist at Work (14 February – 6 April 2015), curated by Luciano Pensabene Buemi, Conservator of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and by Roberto Bellucci, a Conservator at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence. The exhibition will reveal to visitors an explosion of color unveiled by the long process of cleaning, which has made possible a dazzling rediscovery of this famous work. Exclusively and only for the duration of the exhibition, Alchemy will be viewable without glass or plexiglas, rendering vivid the astonishing relief-like surface of the densely worked image.


Alchemy at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence. Photo Opificio delle Pietre Dure
Alchemy at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence. Photo Opificio delle Pietre Dure
Alchemy at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence. Photo Opificio delle Pietre Dure
Alchemy at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence. Photo Opificio delle Pietre Dure
Alchemy at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence. Photo Opificio delle Pietre Dure
Exhibition view. Photo Matteo De Fina
Exhibition view. Photo Matteo De Fina
Exhibition view. Photo Matteo De Fina
Exhibition view. Photo Matteo De Fina
Exhibition view. Photo Matteo De Fina


The visitor will be guided through every technical aspect of the conservation project, as if moving inside the layers and materials of the painting itself, exploring Pollock’s working methods and the processes of conservation, with the aid of an enthralling multi-media installation. Video, 3D reproductions, touch-screens, interactive devices, as well as documentation and original items loaned from Pollock’s studio at the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, Long Island, will bring Pollock’s masterpiece to life, with its thickly encrusted paint surface and its palette of no fewer than 19 different pigments. Thanks to a protracted and detailed study of Alchemy, the exhibition will offer new insights into Pollock and his painting, furthering our understanding of the personality of this artist who combined traditional materials and methods with original and unconventional practices.

With the patronage of Regione del Veneto, Alchemy by Jackson Pollock. Discovering the Artist at Work is supported by Intrapresae Collezione Guggenheim, by Private Bank BSI and by Enel. Nec Display Solutions Italia is the main sponsor of the exhibition, with Océ- A Canon Company as technical sponsor Thanks to Apice, Corriere della Sera and Hangar Design Group for the collaboration. The educational projects surrounding the exhibition are made possible by the Fondazione Araldi Guinetti, Vaduz.


Pollock revealed. Presentations by the protagonists of the research and conservation project

February 19
11:30am and 3.00pm Roberto Bellucci
Co-curator of the exhibition 'Alchemy by Jackson Pollock. Discovering the artist at work'

February 26
11:30am and 3:00pm, Luciano Pensabene Buemi
Co-curator of the exhibition 'Alchemy by Jackson Pollock. Discovering the artist at work'

March 5
11:30am Costanza Miliani
and 3:00pm Francesca Rosi
of CNR-ISTM, Perugia; SMAArt, Perugia
Responsible for XRF, Raman, FT-IR, UV-Vis absorption and emission studies

March 12
11:30am and 3.00pm Matteo Dellepiane
of ISTI-CNR Pisa
Responsible for three-dimensional scanning and the construction of the 3D model

March 19
11:30am and 3.00pm Luciano Pensabene Buemi, conservator of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Francesca Bettini, Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence,
who carried out the conservation and cleaning of Alchemy

March 26
11:30am and 3.00pm Giancarlo Lanterna and Raffaella Fontana,
Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence
INO-CNR, Florence
Responsible for multispectral analysis Vis-NIR, colorimetric analysis

April 2
11:30am and 3.00pm Cecilia Frosinini and Roberto Bellucci, of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence