Today is the birthday of American artist and drip paint extraordinaire, Jackson Pollock. The abstract expressionist, known for his figureless murals created on the floor of his studio, would turn 101 years old if he were still magically alive today.
In this 1949 photo provided by the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, artists Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock are shown in their garden at their East Hampton, N.Y., home. Pollock, who would have turned 100 in 2012, will have the anniversary of his birth observed with exhibitions, fundraisers and other events throughout the year. (AP Photo/Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center)
Pollock, born in Cody, Wyoming, in 1912, began his career as an art student, first at Los Angeles' Manual Arts High School and later at the Art Students League of New York. After working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Art Project in the late 1930s and early '40s, Pollock was signed by famed gallerist, Peggy Guggenheim, in 1943, launching his career with the commissioned work, "Mural," an eight-foot by twenty canvas covered in the artist's signature drip style. The piece caused art critic Clement Greenberg to pronounce Pollock "the greatest painter this country had produced."
Throughout his career, Pollock challenged the Western conception of brush-and-easel art making, choosing instead to use his whole body in a unique form of action painting. His most famous paintings, such as "One: Number 31", were made in the late '40s and '50s. Constantly seeking to transcend the viewer's need for figures in art, he began numbering his works during this time, avoiding concrete titles and any allusions to subject matter.
Sadly, the great artist painted his last work in 1955, nearly one year before he passed away in a tragic car accident at the age of 44. He was survived by his wife, fellow painter Lee Krasner, as well as his mistress, Ruth Kligman, who was in the car with Pollock at the time of his death.
To celebrate the great painter's birthday, we've put together a slideshow of 10 things you might not have known about Mr. Pollock. Scroll through the slides below and let us know how you are celebrating the Jack the Dripper's life in the comments section.