Jackson Pollock painted like no other. Why are both “abstract expressionism” and “action painting” good descriptions of Pollock’s work? 

  • What similarities do Pollock’s later paintings have to his earlier drawings? How are they different?

  • For a period of time, Pollock’s paintings were purely abstract. Why was he so purposeful in removing representational images from his paintings?

  • Later, Pollock reintroduced figures into his paintings. How are these paintings similar to his earlier drip paintings?

  • Which paintings do you prefer, those with figures or those without? Why?

  • How are the paintings with figures similar to those that are completely abstract?

  • How are the composition and balance different between the two types of paintings?

  • Could either of these types of paintings mimic the composition of the other and maintain it’s integrity or be as successful?

  • Why is color important or unimportant in Pollock’s paintings?

  • What kind of emotion was Pollock expressing with his art?

  • Do you feel that same emotion when you look at them or something different?

All images courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum