Jackson Pollock Mural Going to the Des Moines Art Center

Jackson Pollock, MURAL, 1943. Oil on canvas, 8 ft. 1 ¼ in. x 19 ft. 10 in. University of Iowa Museum of Art. Gift of Peggy Guggenheim, 1959.6. Reproduced with permission from the University of Iowa.

From April 5 – July 15, 2012, the Des Moines Art Center will exhibit American abstract expressionist artist Jackson Pollock’s 1943 groundbreaking painting, Mural. On loan from the University of Iowa Museum of Art, Mural has been said to be one of the most important modern American paintings.

Jackson Pollock is considered by many art historians to be the quintessential American artist. He was a founding member of Abstract Expressionism, the movement that established the United States, and specifically New York City, as the center of Western culture after World War II. In 1947, the art critic Clement Greenberg called Pollock the “most powerful painter in contemporary America.” This is the painting that helped establish his career.

The art dealer and patron Peggy Guggenheim gave Mural to the University of Iowa in 1951, in part as a response to the extraordinary work being accomplished by the art department at the University. Guggenheim had commissioned Pollock to create the painting to fill the entrance hall of her East Side New York City townhouse in 1943. In doing so, Pollock merged a myriad of sources and life experiences. He drew from his teacher, the Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton, as well as the art of Mexican muralists, such as Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, and channeled the expansiveness of the American West. Here, Pollock redefined the possibilities of painting with an energy and inventiveness that were distinctly American.

Source: Des Moines Art Center

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