Jackson Pollock

Circumcision

January 1946

In this transitional work of 1946 the subtle persistence of the Cubist grid system is felt in the panels that organize the composition and orient major pictorial details in vertical or horizontal positions. However, Jackson Pollock’s dependence on Pablo Picasso has virtually dissolved, giving way to a more automatic, fluidly expressive style. Line loses its descriptive function and begins to assume a self-sufficient role, the rhythm, duration, and direction of each brushstroke responding to the artist’s instinctual gesture. The compositional focus is multiplied and decentralized, and areas of intense activity fill the entire surface. Primitive art forms are alluded to in the crudely drawn arrows, cult and stick figures, and ornamental markings discernable in Circumcision. Totemic figures are posed stiffly, observing what seems to be a scene of violence in the center of the canvas. The enactment of a rite of passage is suggested, but the visual evidence does not encourage a specific reading.

Artist Jackson Pollock
Date January 1946
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 142.3 x 168 cm
Credit line Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York)
Accession 76.2553 PG 145
Collection Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Type Painting

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Other artworks

Jackson Pollock

Two

1943–45