Pollock is famous above all for his action paintings, in which he abandoned traditional techniques and materials to drip and spatter paint onto canvases spread on the floor, rather than using an easel.

This technique, which made him notorious at the time, was characterised by an obsession with detail and the repetitious movements and use of dripped paint and impasto, that is layering the paint thickly to produce a three-dimensional effect.

Pollock is said to have been influenced by Native American Navaho sand painting, and possibly Ukrainian American artist Janet Sobel. In 1936, he attended a workshop in New York City given by Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, where he learned about the used of liquid paint.

Number 13A Arabesque, completed in 1948, is regarded as one of Pollock's major works and a significant example of the action paintings for which he became famous.

It was one of many created during the "drip period" of his work, which lasted from 1947 to 1950, and for which he is best known. Painted in monochrome colours of black, grey and white enamel on a brown-stained canvas, the picture is one of a series of similar murals executed during this period.

Also painted during this period are Number 5 (1948) and Summertime: Number 9A.

The original canvas measures 37X117 inches.

The name Arabesque may have come from the painter's friends, and is thought to have been inspired by the dance-like effects of the finished patterns. Pollock is said to have liked the painting enough to display it in his living room for several years.

Frank O'Hara, the American writer, poet and art critic, who was Assistant Curator of Painting and Sculpture Exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), called the work "classic".

The painting now hangs in the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut.