Stenographic Figure 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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Painting Shorthand – Stenographic Figure

In 1942 Pollock painted the picture ‘Stenographic Figure’. Unlike some of his early works, this painting is viewed as being bright and uncluttered, almost colourful. It does not have the sombre colours that characterise some of his other works.

In the painting Pollock has included simple humanoid shapes within it. How many shapes there are is open to interpretation. One interpretation is that there is a single figure whose torso stretches across the middle of the canvas, the other is that are two humanoid figures in the painting.

Of the two figures, both are upright. One is located close to the right edge of the canvas while the other is to the left of centre.

In addition to the appearance of figures within the painting, Pollock has added calligraphic-like brush strokes in different parts of the picture. Close inspection of the brushstrokes shows many of them to have an almost mathematical like appearance. The rest appear like simple wavy lines.

Those who have tried to interpret some meaning in the ‘Stenographic Figure’ painting have proposed that given its title, that there are two figures in the picture.

One is the stenographer while the other is giving the dictation. The numbers are simply part of the shorthand transcript. Despite this, there is no agreement on what the painting depicts. Like his other works Jackson Pollock has never commented on the picture’s content or meaning.

Jackson Pollock was an American painter considered to be a major artist of his time. He played a key role in the abstract expressionist movement. When it comes to painting styles, he is probably best known for his distinctive ‘drip painting’ style where he would drip paint onto the canvas.