Who is Charles Pollock? The Society of the Four Arts answers that question with it’s presentation of the exhibition “Charles and Jackson Pollock” on display at The Esther B. O’Keeffe Building through Sunday, March 28, 2021. Admission is $10 with no charge for members and children 14 & under.
“Charles and Jackson Pollock” brings together, for the first time, art by two brothers: Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), the most famous and arguably the most important American painter of the 20th century, and Charles Pollock (1902-1988), his eldest brother, whose career and reputation are less well-known. The exhibition is co-curated by Four Arts President & CEO Philip Rylands and Otto Hübner, of the American contemporary art Gallery, Munich.
“Charles and Jackson Pollock” features around 25 works by Jackson Pollock, revealing a side of the artist little-known to the public through paintings, drawings, his sole surviving sculpture, and a wide selection of prints.
“The prints, drawings, and pages from a notepad arguably reveal the inner workings of Jackson’s creative psyche,” said Rebecca A. Dunham, The Four Arts’ head of fine arts and curator. “Most people know of Jackson Pollock from his drip paintings, but this exhibition touches upon other aspects of his production.”
Charles Pollock took up painting and drawing at the age of 15, fascinating his four younger brothers, and encouraged Jackson to pursue art. While Jackson became a central figure in the nascent New York avant-garde, Charles worked for the Resettlement Administration in Washington, DC before accepting a professorship at Michigan State University. In the mid-1940s, he turned from Social Realism towards abstraction.
“Charles and Jackson Pollock” displays about 70 works by Charles Pollock, including a wide variety of drawings, prints, and paintings organized chronologically into thematic groupings.
“Charles’ work is more structured, based on the mark rather than the gesture, and came to have affinities with ‘color field’ painting,” Dunham said. “It’s more contemplated, where Jackson’s work is more about whatever was flowing creatively out of him at that moment. Charles had a different mode of operation, a different way of creating abstract work.
“This is not a pre-packaged, traveling show. It’s a unique audience experience, the first-ever exhibition pairing these brothers.”
The exhibition also features two four-legged stools used by Jackson Pollock as he produced his works, along with two photomurals of Jackson at work by famed art photographer Hans Namuth and one photomural of Charles taken by wife Sylvia. It also includes timelines of the artists’ lives and a film about Jackson produced by the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, East Hampton, New York.