Abstract Number 11

“Every good painter paints what he is…”

Jackson Pollock

This 1952 painting, Abstract Number 11 by Jackson Pollock, signalled the start of the wider influence of Post War New York Abstract Expressionism. NY Abstract Expressionists refers to a tight group of artists, very active in the 1950s. Included were Barnett, de Kooning, Rothko and of course Pollock. A pillar of their manifesto was to establish an influential art movement that was not European based. The purchase of this piece by the Whitlam Government for the NGA in 1973, was a breakout, high profile, international sale for a core member of their group. In Australia the acquisition was met with scandal and outrage. The SMH summarised the public mood, proclaiming “a barefoot drunk painted our one million dollar so called masterpiece“. By 2017 things had changed. The painting was described by the same paper as representing the “zenith of a great artist’s career”, reported the value at over $100 million and the decision to buy it the “wisest, cultural investment ever made“. #bluepoles #letsmakelemonade

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