Jackson Pollock at the Schardts’ house, Truro, Massachusetts, 1944, Photograph by Bernard Schardt. Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, East Hampton, New York. Gift of Jeffrey Potter.

Mural at Vogue Studios, Photo: Herbert Matter, Image © Estate of Herbert Matter. Courtesy of Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries.

Jackson Pollock’s painting Mural arrives at the Getty for conservation as conservators look on.University of Iowa Museum of Art, Gift of Peggy Guggenheim, 1959.6, Reproduced with permission from The University of Iowa, Photo: © 2013 J. Paul Getty Trust.

Jackson Pollock, American, 1912-1956, Mural, 1943, Oil and casein on canvas, University of Iowa Museum of Art, Gift of Peggy Guggenheim, 1959.6, Reproduced with permission from The University of Iowa, L.2012.35.

The Making of a Modern American Masterpiece and Its Restoration

Peggy Guggenheim and Jackson Pollock in front of Pollock’s Mural (1943) in the first-floor entrance hall of Guggenheim’s residence, 155 East Sixty-first Street, New York, ca. 1946. Other work shown: unidentified David Hare sculpture (partially visible, foreground)., ca. 1946. Photo: George Karger, courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, New York.

Conservator at the J. Paul Getty Museum, gently cleans Jackson Pollock’s painting Mural. Photo: © 2013 J. Paul Getty Trust,

 

J. Paul Getty Museum
1500 Getty Center Drive
310-440-7300
Los Angeles
Jackson Pollock's Mural,
the Transitional Moment
March 11-June 1, 2014

Few paintings have an origin story as sensational and dramatic as Jackson Pollock’s Mural. Commissioned in 1943 by Peggy Guggenheim for the entryway to her Manhattan apartment, Mural marks Pollock’s break from representational painting and a watershed moment in the history of Abstract Expressionism. But for a major work of twentieth-century art, much of the story of its creation and initial installation seems to be built on unsubstantiated and salacious rumor. Did Pollock create Mural in a single alcohol-fueled evening? Are the energetic drips on Mural — which presage Pollock’s later trademark drip paintings — oil paint or a moment of experimentation with another medium? Did Marcel Duchamp have to talk Pollock down when the painting did not fit into its intended space?

When Mural arrived at the Getty for conservation in 2012, staff members set about trying to find out as much about the physical painting itself — and some of these findings work to disprove or support Mural’s much mythologized origin story. Jackson Pollock’s Mural (Getty Publications, $29.95, hardcover) unveils the findings of the experts at the Getty and provides a more complete look at Pollock’s process than ever before. The book also contains an informative essay on the artistic influences on Pollock’s work up through Mural and its critical reception by eminent Pollock scholar Ellen G. Landau, as well as an introduction by famed actor and art collector Steve Martin. This volume accompanies and exhibition of the painting on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from March 11 through June 1, 2014.

Yvonne Szafran is senior conservator of paintings and Laura Rivers is associate conservator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Alan Phenix is a scientist and Tom Learner is a senior scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute. Ellen G. Landau is Andrew W. Mellon Professor Emerita of the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University and has published widely on Abstract Expressionism. Steve Martin is a comedian, actor, musician, writer, and art collector.

Jackson Pollock with the canvas for his mural, 1943, Photograph by Bernard Schardt. Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, East Hampton, New York. Gift of Jeffrey Potter.

Conservators at the J. Paul Getty Museum, gently cleans Jackson Pollock’s painting Mural. Photo: © 2013 J. Paul Getty Trust.

Getty Conservation Institute Head of Science Tom Learner and scientist Alan Phenix discuss the conservation of Mural. University of Iowa Museum of Art, Gift of Peggy Guggenheim, 1959.6. Reproduced with permission from The University of Iowa, Photo: © J. Paul Getty Trust.Photo: © 2013 J. Paul Getty Trust.

Head of Painting Conservation Yvonne Szafran at the J. Paul Getty Museum considers Jackson Pollock’s painting Mural. Photo: © 2013 J. Paul Getty Trust.

Laura Rivers, associate conservator at the J. Paul Getty Museum, gently cleans Jackson Pollock’s painting Mural. Photo: © 2013 J. Paul Getty Trust.

Jackson Pollock, American, 1912-1956, Mural (detail), 1943, Oil and casein on canvas, University of Iowa Museum of Art, Gift of Peggy Guggenheim, 1959.6. Reproduced with permission from The University of Iowa, L.2012.35.

Jackson Pollock, American, 1912-1956, Mural (detail), 1943, Oil and casein on canvas, University of Iowa Museum of Art, Gift of Peggy Guggenheim, 1959.6. Reproduced with permission from The University of Iowa, L.2012.35.