Jackson Pollock’s major early work Mural (1943) was commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim for the entrance hall of her East 61st Street New York residence. Mural-sized, though not actually a mural—the work is painted on a six-meter-long canvas, not directly onto the wall—this vast, frieze-like panorama would be hugely influential in twentieth-century American art.
In Jackson Pollock’s Mural: Energy Made Visible, David Anfam explores the painting and its impact by way of the different themes it incorporates, including the imagery of action and process, the big picture, the “gothic,” the body, dance, and Romanticism, relating them to art historical precedents, Abstract Expressionism, Pollock’s psychology, and the context of American art and culture in the pre- and postwar years. This analysis is accompanied by reproductions of Pollock’s work as well as imagery from the period that sheds light on the artist’s development.
Gifted to the University of Iowa Museum of Art in 1948, Mural has rarely traveled, and it is now the focus of a traveling exhibition curated by Anfam. This accompanying volume offers crucial analysis and historical background on one of Pollock’s most significant works.