Revolutionary Roads

Asger Jorn and Jackson Pollock are two important artists who never met, but each in his own way revolutionized painting during and immediately after World War II. One was a European and the other an American – the war severed the connections of both with the Parisian centre of the avant-garde, which was never re-established. This exhibition focuses on the years 1943–1963. It was in this period that the works of the two painters was defined, and they gained their first international attention – and it was in these very years that a new kind of spontaneous abstract painting arose.

At times one may fruitfully doubt which of the two created what: some of Jorn’s and Pollock’s works are almost indistinguishable in style. But this does not mean that the two artists are identical – quite the contrary. It is not about proclaiming a winner. Jorn and Pollock offer us different versions of the road that the revolution in painting could take, and often what looks identical is quite different at bottom.

It is our hope that by setting up a direct encounter with the works in all their insistent materiality, we can help to emancipate both artists a little from art history’s categorizations into the action-painter Pollock and the CoBrA painter Jorn.

They shared in the creation of a new abstract expressionism, but related differently to the roles of art and the artist in society. With his drip technique Pollock changed the rules of the game for painting itself. He staged the artist as the modern hero; he was in the painting, but outside society. Jorn went a different way. For him it was about commitment to the real world, about getting history and the contemporary society into art. This is why in Jorn’s works there is almost always a residue of the figu- rative, a recognizability to which we can relate as viewers.

Jorn is a central figure in the Louisiana’s collection and has been presented retrospec- tively, but it is half a century since Pollock’s paintings could last be seen on display at the museum in 1963. This exhibition shows 135 works, distributed over paintings, drawings and prints. At a good distance from the time of the artists themselves, it offers a rare opportunity to think about and with the two painters through a richly varied body of material. We believe that in the juxtaposition of the two we can experience and understand new sides of each of them.

Jackson Pollock filmed by Hans Namuth

Myths and Mythmakers

Without thinking about it a mind creates its own chain of myths that save it from destruction in the collapse of matter. The believer in myth goes blindly through life believing in a virgin birth, while the mythmaker, through imagination, experiences life momentarily in its free and primitive rhythm (...)
Niels Lergaard, Helhesten, 1941

Throughout the 1930s the Surrealists had thematized mankind as both vulnerable and brutal, subject to unconscious impulses. During the Second World War, Jorn’s and Pollock’s quest to create a kind of painting in the interface between the inner and the outer life was intensified. Each did so on his own side of the Atlantic, isolated from the pre-war avant-garde in Paris.

In discussions in both Copenhagen and New York, the irrational and the mythical came to play a central role. Many artists saw themselves as mythmakers. They engaged in studies of the African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian art owned by private collectors and museums. Mainly through his friendship with the critic and collector John Graham, Pollock associated himself with exchanges between modern art and so-called ‘primitive’ cultures. Pollock oriented himself towards both Greek mythology and the prehistory of his own country. Since childhood he had been interested in the art of the Native Americans and as a young man he watched the Navajo Indians making sand-paintings on the floor of the exhibition spaces at MoMA. Jorn developed a strong interest in Viking symbols and the ancient Nordic pictorial culture – the archaeologist P.V. Glob became his close partner in dialogue.

For Jorn, abstract art’s open form (the fact that there are no actual motifs) provide scope for the viewer’s own interpretation of the symbols. The materials themselves produce images in the encounter with the viewer’s imagination. This orientation towards the viewer can be seen as a Jorn hallmark.

Pollock, in the years after the war, emptied his painting of basic historical narratives and turned towards the autonomous expression of the work. Still, the actualization of the mythological remained a main concern in both Copenhagen and New York.

Picasso, Surrealism and Abstract Art

Picasso, Surrealism and Abstract Art is the title of a book from 1945 written by Jorn’s friend, the painter Ejler Bille. For both Jorn and Pollock this particular cocktail became a crucial premise for their painting. Among the European avant-garde currents, the first generation with Picasso occupies a special position. For the younger artists it was almost impossible not to involve themselves with his wide-ranging oeuvre and method.

For Jorn, Picasso was an attitude to life, uncompromisingly weaving art and life together. Picasso’s experiments and his approach to narrative and tradition were a direct catalyst for Jorn’s own mode of expression. The same was the case for Pollock: In an interview from 1947 he described Picasso as the artist (along with Miró) he admired most. Mythological figures influenced by Picasso can be seen in Pollock’s works, but since he viewed his works as a step towards the constant improvement of art, the ‘superhuman’ figure of Picasso also became a diifcult inspiration. Picasso was hard to beat.

In 1937 Jorn saw Picasso’s painting Guernica in the Spanish Pavilion at the World Exposition in Paris, while Pollock saw it in New York in 1939. The work was created in 1937 during, and in response to, the Spanish Civil War (1936–39). Already at the time the ruthless terror of the German air attack on the civilian population in the town of Guernica made the painting a universal symbol of war. Tormented bodies, falling figures and the terror- stricken faces of animals and people found their way into several of Jorn’s and Pollock’s own war subjects and visions of doom.

Figuration and Abstraction

I’ve had a period of drawing on canvas in black – with some of my early images coming thru–thinkthenon-objectivistswillfindthemdisturbing.
Jackson Pollock to his friend Alfonso Ossorio, 1951

What Pollock is referring to is the mythological figures in his earlier works from the war years – before the iconic ‘drip’ paintings in 1947–50. In the paintings’ calligraphic tracery of black industrial paint on raw canvas we can in fact make out heads, bodies and landscapes; together forming a dramatic scene, as in history painting – but the action no longer consists of grand narratives or mythologies.

For Pollock, art does not need to be based on something in the outer world, something ‘real’. Pollock’s work is coloured by a Romantic approach that combines and harmonizes Freudian slips, Surrealist impulses and the actual physical act of painting in an eternal ‘now’ maintained by an order and unity from which he never deviates.

On the other hand, Jorn’s dramatic scenarios, filled with fear and darkness, represent a commitment to reality and contemporary politics – but the mythic material and the special Nordic resonance continue unabated. Themes current at the time, like the arrival in Copenhagen of Churchill, make their demonstrative entry into the picture, imbuing it with ironic and political potential. For Jorn it is always about letting the ambiguities work – at all levels.

During these years the works of the two artists can be seen circling investigatively between figuration and abstraction, but also around both control and emancipation of the spontaneous impulse. The techniques are many, and range from methodical modifications, reflections and overpaintings of a subject to cutting it up and reassembling it. And all this is done with recharged resonances from the tradition. Munch peeps through in Jorn’s works, Picasso and Matisse in Pollock’s.

Abstract Expressionism and the Like

The drip-and-pour works that Pollock made in the years 1947–1950 are phenomenal. The traces bear witness to a process where he used sticks, stiffened brushes, spray and paint straight from the can to apply colour in squirts, drips and long loops from above. The canvas was laid on the floor and the artist worked from several sides and at times, in his own words, in the painting. The goal was a direct transfer of the artist’s mental images down on to the surface of the canvas. This kind of painting was known as abstract expressionism and action-painting. Pollock’s mastery of both the physical properties of the artwork and his own emotions created a cult around him even in his own time – as the lone artist-hero in his shack.

Jorn’s fundamentally social view of art was critical of the isolation of the artist within the work that Pollock’s art represented. At times it can be hard to find a way in and out of Pollock’s works. Jorn always lets materials, titles and figurative tendencies speak with many tongues at once.

With his Luxury Paintings Jorn both paraphrases Pollock’s signature style and, using string dipped in the paint pot, then held and drawn across the canvas on the floor, lets unruly figures arise. And they are not necessarily all about the artist’s innermost emotional life. Critically and ironically, as one work title puts it, he has a ‘soul for sale’. Here, on the threshold of the sixties, modernism’s painterly bravura becomes something from which Jorn distances himself with a postmodern sensibility.

In the rhetoric of the Cold War, the American Abstract Expressionism whose DNA can be found at all levels of Pollock’s art, was at the same time American culture’s foremost weapon, with its marks of the free motion of the body; it is very tempting to politicize the works as expressions of the freely thinking and acting human being. In this context Jorn’s art remained a product of his European antecedents and his insistent personal resistance to the interests of the system.

Kurator Anders Kold on Jorn and Pollock

The Accidental and the Controlled

In 1946 Jorn conducted a systematic experiment with automatic drawing during a stay at Saxnäs. He attempted to draw without thinking. Afterwards he covered the finished basic drawing with tracing paper, on which he himself, and then other artists, traced a central figure. The many different versions convinced him of the idea of the fundamental ambivalence of the artwork, and confirmed him in the belief that images cannot be understood in terms of just one meaning.

Pollock’s approach to drawing was different. In his sketchbook pages he reflected a wealth of personal impulses and enigmatic Surrealist underworld, combining drawn images of heads, masks and intertwined figures at a time when he was developing his painting towards abstraction. Drawings from the last years of his life also show a considerable interest in and ability with the painterly qualities of the drawing.

With statements like “I don’t use the accident – ‘cause I deny the accident,” Pollock signals that he does not believe in complete randomness when he works with his material. Unlike Jorn, Pollock both draws and paints according to an internal system that relates to the canvas surface and makes use of graph coordinates or a grid. Each time such a pictorial architecture presents itself as a possibility to Jorn, he clearly and consistently allows a form or a figure to shatter the unity.

Jorn likes to cross different media with one another, and with his book Pour la forme published in France in 1958, he categorically transcends the normal relationship between book, picture and illustration. On the front cover the title is introduced in a functionalistic typography, while the title on the back cover is dripped on with liquid Indian ink in one singular movement. It writes, very Pollock-like “pour the form”!

Jorn & Pollock – Revolutionary Roads

The idea of an isolated American painting, so popular in this country during the thirties, seems absurd to me (...). The basic problems of contemporary painting are independent of anyonecountry.
Pollock,1950


Art in America is the opposite of what we see in Europe. Here we aim at imposing action and actuality which we find in existence, whereas over there they try to give existence and permance to action itself.
Jorn, 1956

Pollock was addressing the basic problems of contemporary painting in the period 1943–63 independently of national boundaries. On different sides of the Atlantic Jorn and Pollock were in fact following several of the same routes in their work to create a new kind of painting, which appeared to be spontaneously abstract in expression. But with different visions for art and humanity. Under the influence of differently-faceted ideas of the human unconscious, the meanings of words and images and personal political convictions the works in the exhibition point to an intercontinental scope with certain local premises.

Pollock’s very early death came before the criticism of his work took off. Jorn, on the other hand, was able to react both against and in favour of Pollock’s painting and indeed also watched Pop Art sweep the world before its feet, seeing himself reviewed as an ‘easel painter’ by the later superstar, the minimalist Donald Judd, in New York in 1963.

A path was opened up for the understanding of common artistic ground across the Atlantic in the midst of the Cold War, and in the time of the artists them selves. Alfred H. Barr, founder and director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and adviser to the big exhibitions of American art that reached Europe in 1956–58 stated with Pollock in mind:

For a dozen years the paintings of some of its leaders have been shown abroad, first in Europe, then in Latin America and the Orient. They have been met with controversy but also with enthusiasm, thanks in part to artists working along similar lines and to other champions.
Barr, 1958

Asger Jorn 1914 -73

1914
Asger Oluf Jørgensen is born in Vejrum, Jutland. His parents are teachers and their six children grow up in a fundamentalist evangelical Christian home. Jorn himself is married three times and has six children.
1930-35
Studies at the teacher training college in Silkeborg. Exhibits in 1933 with the group ‘Free Jutland Painters’ in Silkeborg.
Jorn visits the syndicalist Christian Christensen, 1934. He affected Jorn’s political orientation.
1936
Is admitted to Fernand Léger’s school, Atélier de l’Art Contemporain, in Paris. Jorn has his first meeting with the Chilean architect and painter Roberto Matta, who is later in exile in New York in 1939-48. Matta urges Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Arshile Gorky and William Baziotes among others to experiment with automatic techniques.
1937
Assists Léger and Le Corbusier with their wall-sized pictures for the pavilions at the World Exhibition in Paris, where he also sees Picasso’s painting Guernica.
Hills by Sminge, 1933. One of Jorn’s debut paintings. Museum Jorn.
1938
Student of Axel Jørgensen at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen until 1940.
1939
Sees Paul Klee and Joan Miró in Paris. Writes in an exhibition catalogue that he does not paint on the basis of fixed ideas about the world, because “creating a picture is a process with an unknown development and result.
1940
Denmark is occupied by Germany. Jorn comments in 1946 on how the occupying power has unintentionally provided favourable conditions for the development of spontaneous-abstract painting and how Danish- minded cultural life has joined hands in protecting the entartete (‘degenerate’) experiments of visual art.
1941
Publishes the cross-cultural periodical Helhesten with Robert Dahlmann Olsen, Egill Jacobsen and Ejler Bille. Helhesten becomes the voice of the spontaneous-abstract avant-garde. The mani¬festo in the first issue explains the ideological stance of the editors: they will work to resolve the cultural problems of society! They publish twelve issues that appear between 1941 and 1944.
1942–43
The Helhesten artists study masks at the ethnographic collection of the National Museum. Jorn spends the summer on the island of Samsø. Here he creates a sculpture jointly with Ejler Bille and Robert Jacobsen from a conical stone that they carve and paint.
The Danish lawyer Carl Kjærsmeier with his collection of African sculptures.
1944
Decorates Elna Fonnesbech-Sandberg’s holiday home in Tisvilde. Jorn models a relief directly on the facade of the holiday home.
Decorates Elna Fonnesbech-Sandberg’s summer house in Tisvilde, Sealand. Jorn models a relief directly on the facade of the holiday home.
1945
Publishes the book Salvi Dylvo with his brother Jørgen Nash. Changes his surname Jørgensen to the name Jorn, which is easier to pronounce abroad.
Front cover of the book Salvi Dylvo, made by Jorn with his brother, Jørgen Nash, 1945
1946
Stays in Lapland, Sweden, France and Holland.
Jorn forwards hundreds of photos, original drawings and reproductions by the Helhesten-artists to the curator of Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), James Johnson Sweeney, with a view to an exhibition. It is never realized.
1947
Travels in Europe. Meets the Belgian poet Christian Dotremont.
Later spends six months on the island of Djerba in Tunesia. Here he studies the symbolism of prehistoric art.
1948
Forms the group CoBrA with the Danish spontaneous- abstract artists as well as Dotremont and Corneille from the French-Belgian group Surréalisme Révolutionnaire, and Constant and Karel Appel from the Dutch group Reflex. The official language of the group is French. The name CoBrA is an acronym for the capitals of the participating countries Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam. The group dissolves in 1951. Jorn has a solo exhibiton in Paris.
1949
Exhibits at the first big CoBrA exhibition ‘International Exhibition of Experimental Art’ at Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
Participates in the decoration of the Bregnerød cottage, which the artists decorate collectively without sketches or initial planning.
1950
Moves to Paris.
Experiments with the materials: Produces watercolours with bird and human motifs, which he tears up and reassembles. He also makes ‘finger lithographs’, where he paints directly on the stone with his fingers before printing.
Jorn in Houmt Soauk, Tunisia in front of a lorry with ‘Fatima’s hand’, 1948.
1951–52
Is admitted to the Silkeborg Sanatorium because of tuberculosis and malnutrition. The stay lasts over 17 months. Organizes a small space in the sanatorium’s mortuary chapel as a studio.
Draws the two lithographs on paper, Return to the Detested City and Espace Vitale, that become the first prints that he sells to museum collections (in Cincinnati and Indianapolis, USA).
Receives a catalogue of Pollock’s exhibition from Betty Parsons Gallery in New York.
1953
Inspired by Picasso, Jorn makes 21 light-drawings photographed by Poul Pedersen. Works with ceramics in Sorring; works from this series form the core of his own museum.
1954–55
Stays at Albisola near Genoa. Works with the pottery tradition there and the ceramics company Mazoretti. In Rome, he meets Karel Appel, Roberto Matta and Sam Francis, whose works strike Jorn as “a vital paralysis of figuration.”
Ceramic experiments in Albisola, 1955.
1956
Makes sceptical remarks about Action Painting: “Art in America is the opposite of what we see in Europe. Here we aim at imposing action and actuality on [what] we find in existence, whereas over there they try to give existence and permanence to action itself.”
1957
Founds the Situationist International with Guy Debord. The group turns focus on the integration of art and life. The point of departure is action and situations that are constructed, rather than individual artists and their work.
In Copenhagen, Jorn creates the book Fin de Copenhague. Conseiller technique pour la détournement in 24 hours with Debord. Publishes the book Pour la forme which transcends the normal relationship between book, picture and illustration.
Guy Debord, Michéle Bernstein and Asger Jorn in Paris, 1961. Foto/photo:© Ib Hansen / Galleri Moderne, Silkeborg
1958
Solo exhibition at ICA i London, curated by Lawrence Alloway.
Brings his brother Jørgen Nash into Situationist International.
1959
Exhibits Ausverkauf einer Seele at Documenta II, where Pollock is also represented by among other works Number 14. In Albisola, he executes a 30 m long, 3 m tall relief in ceramics for the Danish school Aarhus Stats-gymnasium.
Makes ‘modifications’, with a technique where he paints over old paintings he finds at fleamarkets.
1960–61
Corresponds with his friends Jean Dubuffet and wants to acquire substantial lithographs by him for his museum.
Jorn makes Luxury paintings and experiments with pouring paint and pulling lines and winding patterns across a painted surface with string. The name ‘Luxury’ refers both to the exaggerated use of material and the dissolution of the picture surface in bright shimmerings of colour.
1962
Works with soundscapes and musical experiments with Jean Dubuffet.
Jorn resumes his interest for Nordic mythology. First trip to the United States and exhibits at Gallery Lefebre, New York.
Jorn painting on the memorial stone to Christen Christensen, Copenhagen, 1961. Photo:© Scanpix /Tage Nielsen
1963
Makes graphic works with marbles that leave traces on the paper surface.
On 26 December Harry Guggenheim announces that the jury of the Solomon F. Guggenheim Foundation is awarding Jorn The Guggenheim Museum’s International Award of 10,000 dollars for the painting Dead Drunk Danes.
Jorn writes in a telegram: “Go to Hell with your money bastard. Refuse price. Never asked for it. Against all decency mix artist against his will in your publicity. I want public confirmation not to have participated in your ridiculous game.”
In a review the art critic and minimalist artist, Donald Judd, calls Jorns works for “easel paintings”.
1973

Dies at Århus Municipal Hospital. Because of his lifelong commitment to Nordic and Scandinavian visual culture Jorn is buried on the island of Gotland.
Jorn in 1963. The year he reclined The Guggenheim Museum’s International Award for Dead Drunk Danes.

Jackson Pollock 1912–56

1912
Paul Jackson Pollock is born on Watkins Ranch in Cody, Wyoming. His parents have six sons. The family moves around in northern and southern California, and often accompany their father, who is a land surveyor at the Grand Canyon. Pollock later says that the memory of the panoramic landscape has influenced his artistic vision.
1925–28
Attends Manual Arts High School, Los Angeles. Is introduced to abstract art and to Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy.
Jackson Pollock and Sanford ‘Sande’ Pollock at the Grand Canyon, 1927. Unknown photograf. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
1929–30
Moves to Manhattan, New York and shares an apartment with his brothers Charles and Sandford. Attends the art school Arts Student League. Drops his first name Paul.
1933–36
Works with new industrial colours such as enamels and experiments with silk-screen printing, pouring techniques, and spray methods such as airbrushing.
Going West, one of Pollock’s earlier works, c. 1934-35. Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of Thomas Hart Benton.
1937
Throughout his adult life, he suffers from alcoholism. At the urging of his brither Sandford Pollock gets treatment from the Jung-inspired psychotherapist Dr. Joseph Henderson between 1937 and 1941.
1938–1939
In 1939 he sees Picasso’s Guernica at the Valentine Gallery in New York before it is deposited at Picasso’s request at Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) the same year. Pollock returns several times and makes sketches.
1940
Watches Navajo indians executing sand-paintings on the exhibition floors of MoMA. He says: “I have always been very impressed with the plastic qualities of American Indian art. The Indians have the true painter’s approach in their capacity to get hold of appropriate images, and in their understanding of what constitutes painterly subject-matter. Their colours are essentially Western, their vision has the basic universality of all real art.”
1941
Receives treatment from Dr. Violet Staub de Lazlo. Some of Pollock’s drawings are used as therapeutic tools in their sessions.
1942
James Johnson Sweeney, curator at MoMA, visits Pollock’s studio and suggests that the art collector Peggy Guggenheim should see his works. Peggy Guggenheim opens her gallery Art of This Century.
1943
Participates in the spring exhibition at the gallery Art of This Century with the painting Stenographic Figure. Piet Mondrian says: “I’m trying to understand what’s happening here. I think it is the most interesting work I’ve seen so far in America... you must watch this man.” Peggy Guggenheim mounts Pollock’s first solo exhibition. Pollock signs a one-year contract with Peggy Guggenheim for 150 dollars a month. Guggenheim also commissions a wall painting for her town house.
Pollock with Peggy Guggenheim in the foyer of her town house, c. 1944.
1944
The American art critic Clement Greenberg reviews Pollock as “the strongest painter in his generation and perhaps the greatest one to appear since Miró.” MoMA acquires The She-Wolf, the first of Pollock’s paintings to be included in a museum collection. Peggy Guggenheim doubles her monthly grant to Pollock against receiving all works with the exception of one he himself chooses.
1945
Marries Lee Krasner and moves to Springs in The Hamptons, Long Island. They never have children.
Pollock outside his studio, The Springs, 1950. photo:© Hans Namuth Ltd., courtesy Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, East Hampton, New York.
1946–47
Paints The Key in his bedroom, the first painting to lie stretched out on the floor. Does his first large drip paintings. Writes the text “My Painting” in the periodical Possibilities and says: “My painting does not come from the easel. I prefer to tack the unstretched canvas to the hard wall or the floor. I need the resistance of a hard surface. On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting.”
Cover of the American art magazine Possibilities, 1947.
1948
Exhibits at the Venice Biennale as part of Peggy Guggenheim’s collection. Participates in a protest against the art critics’ and museum staff’s hostile attitude to abstract art shown at the Museum of Modern Art.
In 1952 the French art critic Michel Tapié arranged the first European exhibtion with Pollocks works. Pollock Pollock never travelled to Europe. Betty Parsons papers, American Archives of Art, Smithsonian Institution.
1949
Participates in the exhibition ‘The Intrasubjectives’ with among others Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell and Mark Rothko. Several of these artists are later known as The New York School and called abstract expressionists. Life Magazine publishes an article on Pollock and asks the question: “Pollock – is he the greatest living painter in America?”
1950
The German photographer Hans Namuth photographs and films Pollock as he works on paintings and paints on a glass plate. He signs a letter of protest along with 18 other artists where they oppose the Metropolitan’s exhibition policy and want a section showing modern American art.
Group portrait of American Abstract Expressionists. From left, rear: Willem de Kooning, Adolph Gottleib, Ad Reinhardt, Hedda Sterne, (next row), Richard Pousette-Dart, William Baziotes, Jimmy Ernst, Jackson Pollock (in striped jacket), James Brooks, Clyfford Still, Robert Motherwell, Bradley Walker Tomlin (foreground) Theodoros Stamos, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko. Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images copyrigth NINA LEEEN/ Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images/All Over Press.
1951
Exhibits among other works Image of a Man at the Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, with a catalogue introduction by his friend Alfonso Ossorio. Asger Jorn gets a copy of the exhibition catalogue. He later uses the drawing as an illustration for his book Pour la forme.
Pollock is shown for the first time in Europe in a Parisian exhibition along with European artists like Karel Appel, Dubuffet, Wols and Hans Hartung. Pollock begins to work with black and white paintings and prints with amorphous, figurative forms.
Pollocki in his studio. To the right is Image of Man, later used by Jorn in his book Pour la forme, 1957.
1952
Ossorio mounts the solo exhibition ‘Jackson Pollock 1948-51’ at Studio Paul Facchetti, Paris. The American critic Harold Rosenberg writes his article “The American Action Painters” and writes, with Pollock’s works in mind: “At a certain moment the canvas began to appear to one American painter after another as an arena in which to act ... What was to go on canvas was not a picture but an event.”
Pollock’s studio, 1952. The work Number 7 is seen in the background. Photographer: Maurice Berezov. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
1955
Number 1A, 1948, is exhibited at ‘50 Ans d’art aux Etats-Unis’ at Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris. Jorn moves from Albisola to Paris and has probably seen the large work by Pollock. Pollock does not paint for the next 18 months.
1956
Dies in an automobile accident. Is buried at Springs. MoMA is preparing a ‘midway exhibition’ which instead becomes a retrospective memorial exhibition.
Jackson Pollock, 1953.
1958–59
Pollock’s works are shown in among other cities Amsterdam, Basel, Hamburg, London, Rome, Kassel and Munich. He is part of the travelling exhibition ‘New American Painting’ along with other prominent artists of the time. Alfred H. Barr Jr., MoMA’s founder and director of the collection, says of the group exhibition that are described as abstract expressionists: ”They have been met with controversy but also with enthusiasm, thanks in part to artists working along similar lines and to other champions”.
‘The New American Painting’, exhibition shown in 8 European Countries, 1958-59.
1961–64
107 works by Pollock are presented at Louisiana. A comparison of Jorn and Pollock first comes in 1964 in connection with the exhibition ‘Guggenheim International’, where the the curator Lawrence Alloway writes that Jorn and Pollock are parallel, but differ from each other in their use of ‘automatism’.