Easter and The Totem

I don’t think I can explain why I like this piece. It’s an example of Pollock’s late figurative work, coming after the Black Paintings and after Convergence and Blue Poles, contemporary with The Deep and Portrait and a Dream. I love it. I think it’s a culminating work, and not just because it comes late. It scoops up his early mythological works, the black paintings and abstraction, but the main attraction is its enigma. What is it exactly? Can’t tell. And, of course, it is beautiful and beautifully painted. It also contains some response to Wifredo Lam, who we know Pollock admired. It must have been important for Lee Krasner, for it shows up—to my eyes at least—in her work of the sixties and seventies. She evidently thought it important when she gave it to MoMA, but they don’t show it. Pollock didn’t really work in series. Each piece stands alone, especially the late works, which to me makes them the most interesting. Future topics.

Jackson Pollock, Easter and The Totem 1953

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