Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tom and Jack

Ballad of the Jealous Lover of Lone Green Valley
by Thomas Hart Benton
Here Jackson Pollock modeled for the harmonica player.

The Pollock we are all familiar with

Benton created abstract works throughout his career
including this one called "Organization" from 1944.

Pollock's "Moon Woman Cuts the Circle"- circa 1944 is surprisingly
similar to Benton's above work from the same time.

I have recently been reading a book that details the connection between one of my favorite artists Thomas Hart Benton and his most famous student Jackson Pollock. Jackson Pollock? Are you serious? That was my reaction as well since in all my readings on Benton, I can't recall ever realizing that Pollock was his student. The author of "Tom and Jack - The Intertwined Lives of Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock" , Henry Adams lays out a compelling story detailing the development of both artists and how they became connected to and influenced by one another (especially Pollock). Few people know that for a period of several years in the mid to late 1930's Pollock was a student of Benton and for a time lived with, vacationed with and even baby sat the Benton children. The main artistic principles that seem to have influenced both artists are the ideas of a mostly forgotten art style called Synchomism that had a brief life within the abstract expressionist movement in the early twentieth century It's theories were based heavily in color relationships and the idea that true art must be purely non-representational.. The book has been enlightening and has helped me to better understand both Benton the most acclaimed American muralist and Pollock, arguably the most famous American artist in history (or at least the highest priced - a Pollock recently was auctioned for 140 million US$ ) .

1 comment:

Ron Spears MFA said...

I had no idea! Great report! I hope you continue the illustration history lessons. So, how has your work been influenced by these two? Color? Movement? Subject?