“Alchemy by Jackson Pollock. Discovering the Artist at Work”
After an absence of more than a year, and following examination, cleaning and conservation at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence, the painting “Alchemy” returns to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, to be the focus of a documentary, scientific exhibition: “Alchemy by Jackson Pollock. Discovering the Artist at Work” (14 February – 6 April 2015), curated by Luciano Pensabene Buemi, Conservator of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and by Roberto Bellucci, a Conservator at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence.
“Alchemy by Jackson Pollock” is the first of three exhibitions promoted by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection to celebrate both Jackson Pollock and his eldest brother Charles Pollock.
The exhibition is the first major result of a far-reaching study and conservation project dedicated to ten of Pollock’s paintings executed between 1942 and 1947, all of them belonging to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
They were acquired by Peggy herself, Pollock’s patron, who exhibited his work on many occasions in the 1940s at her New York gallery Art of This Century. Together they represent a crucial period in Pollock’s career, during which his painting developed from relatively orthodox figurative-abstract imagery to highly original works created by pouring, flicking and dripping paint onto canvas laid flat on the ground.
Thanks to a protracted and detailed study of “Alchemy”, illlustrated by a short film produced by the Web TV of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, the exhibition will offer new insights into Pollock and his painting, furthering our understanding of the personality of this artist who combined traditional materials and methods with original and unconventional practices.
Until now, “Alchemy” was assumed to be completely casual random spatters and drops. However, if you look closely there was a long process of study of symmetries and the brilliance of the colors. A further discovery was the sheer quantity of paint deployed by Pollock: 4.6 kg of painted material! And, compared to Medieval and Renaissance paintings of similar dimensions, it weights atleast 22 times more.
Jackson Pollock in his studio, ca. 1947 / Herbert Matter, photographer. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Jackson Pollock at work, 1950 / Rudy Burckhardt, photographer. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Alchemy at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence. Photo Opificio delle Pietre Dure.
Photography Matteo De Fina.
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