Sotheby's New York to offer Jackson Pollock's The Blue Unconscious painted in 1946
Date: 23 Mar 2013 | | Views: 1710
Jackson Pollock, The Blue Unconscious, signed and dated 46. Oil on canvas, 84 x 56 in. 213.4 x 142.1 cm. Est. $20/30 million. Photo: Sotheby's.
NEW YORK, NY. - On 14 May 2013 Sotheby’s New York will present The Blue Unconscious by Jackson Pollock as a major highlight of the Contemporary Art Evening Sale. The monumental canvas (84 x 56 in., 213.4 x 142.1 cm.) was painted in the critical year of 1946, just prior to the establishment of the artist’s celebrated drip paintings. Pollock executed the present work in the famed Long Island barn studio he established after moving to East Hampton with his wife, Lee Krasner, the prior year to escape the pressures of the New York City art world. The canvas has remained in the same private collection for nearly 50 years having last appeared on the market in a 1965 auction at Parke-Bernet. The appearance of the work on the market comes just months after Sotheby’s set a new Pollock auction record with Number 4, 1951 which sold for $40,402,500 (est. $25/35 million) in November 2012. The Blue Unconscious is estimated to bring $20/30 million and will be shown in Sotheby’s Los Angeles galleries from 22-24 March 2013 ahead of exhibitions in London and New York prior to the May auction.
Jackson Pollock is widely recognized as a towering and transformative figure in mid-20th century art. By 1946 he was flourishing at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century and was at the forefront of the creation of the New York Abstract Expressionist movement. Paintings such as The Blue Unconscious embody Pollock’s quest to integrate imagery with abstraction during this watershed era of reinvention that saw him gain recognition as a modern master on par with the European artists of the day. The artist’s celebrity and acclaim grew throughout the late 1940s as he took his place as the standard bearer for American art on the international stage.
In the fall of 1945, Pollock and Krasner relocated to East Hampton on Long Island. Beginning in Spring 1946, Pollock worked feverishly on two series of paintings as he prepared for his fourth and final one-man exhibition at Art of This Century scheduled to open January 14, 1947. The “Accabonac Creek” series named for the harbor and waterway that could be seen from his Long Island property, was executed in the makeshift studio in the upstairs bedroom of his home. For the execution of the “Sounds in the Grass” series, which includes The Blue Unconscious, Pollock moved out to his newly-renovated barn studio in Summer 1946, which would be the site of his greatest breakthroughs toward his signature style. The “Sounds in the Grass” canvases are triumphant examples of Pollock’s complete melding of figuration and painterly abstraction, with early “all-over’’ compositions of swooping and colorful brushwork. In the monumentality of the canvases, one can feel how physicality abounds in Pollock’s thickly applied and gestural brushwork. When his canvases moved to the floor of his Long Island barn studio in 1946 and 1947, the exuberance, daring and sheer painterly verve that coursed through paintings such as the present work gave birth to the cataclysmic enamel drip paintings that followed in the coming months.
Of the seven works in the “Sounds in the Grass” series, five are in the collections of major museums including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Tel Aviv Museum and the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, Venice. Additionally, in the critical year of 1946, Pollock executed only seven paintings on a monumental scale (larger than 50 inches in either direction); two are in private collections, including The Blue Unconscious, and the others are all in institutions: three in the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, Venice, and one each at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
The Blue Unconscious was previously owned by the esteemed Belgian collector, Philippe Dotrement, and last appeared on the market in a 1965 auction of his collection at Sotheby’s predecessor firm, Parke-Bernet. It was acquired from that sale by the present owner.