Number 14 Jackson Pollock Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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In the Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock began a series of paintings to which he only assigned numbers, rather any descriptive or other type of title. Number 14 was executed by Pollock in 1951.

Number 14 is a departure for Pollock from the coloured works for which he is so well known.

These pieces, often described as action pieces due to the physical manner in which Pollock painted them, applying paint without touching canvas or other medium, literally pouring or dripping it onto the work, in as much as only black paint has been used.

The black paint has been applied to raw, unprepared cotton duck canvas and the whole work displays images of certainly two, possibly three figures. The figures are depicted not by the applied paint, but by the raw canvas that has not been painted.

The piece is clearly abstract in nature, and moves dramatically away from the almost joyous, multi-hued bright palette employed by Pollock in his earlier artwork.

The piece bears a repair undertaken by the artist himself: to the top right corner of the canvas has been applied a patch to make good a tear.

The dark, brooding tones of Number 14 perhaps give indication of the course on which the artist had begun his final journey.

The earlier and later pieces executed entirely in black paint (the Black Pour works) are companions to this piece and constitute his last body of work before his tragic and untimely death in 1956.

The paint is black enamel, diluted by Pollock to a consistency that he found acceptable. It is recorded that Pollock painted a number of works of this period on a continuous roll of canvas; individual pieces were then cut from it.