Matter & Pollock

No. 6: [Winter Break] From My Collection

I'll be back in full force in January with Influence Part II, but I thought I’d share a piece from my personal collection in the meantime.

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No. 5: Influence Part I | Hans Hofmann

As the result of a series of unfortunate events — a world war, tuberculosis, another world war — the German painter and instructor Hans Hofmann landed in the US. He had studied art in Berlin and then Paris where he knew Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Picasso’s reimagining of form with Cubism and Matisse’s use of color influenced Hofmann’s painting, and he later became a critical player in the Abstract Expressionism movement.

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No. 4: Light and Motion

Inspired by his time in Paris studying with the photographer Man Ray and surrounded by the influence of avant-garde artists — and likely later the work of American electrical engineer and photographer Harold Eugene Edgerton — Herbert Matter spent the late 1930s and ’40s experimenting with light and motion. Here are three of his photographs that I keep coming back to in my research.

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No. 3: An Impossible Equation

If the intimacy of friendship is an ethereal calculation of catalyst, proximity, and time, Pollock and Matter had a near constant catalyst in Lee Krasner and Mercedes Carles Matter. Had it not been for the women’s bond, it’s unlikely Pollock and Matter would have met as early as they did, and it seems even less likely that they would have become friends once they crossed paths. But meeting as they did through their significant others, the arithmetic of their friendship came to rely on time and proximity.

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No. 2: Jailbirds

Before there was Jackson and Herbert, there was Lee and Mercedes. // On December 1st, 1936, Mercedes Carles was arrested for disorderly conduct. Hundreds of artists marched up New York’s Fifth Avenue that afternoon in a protest organized by Lee Krasner and the Artists Union.

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No. 1: Welcome Friends

In the photograph above, Jackson Pollock stands in front of his painting Mural (1943). A commission for the townhouse entryway of prominent art collector Peggy Guggenheim, this would be his largest canvas and a seminal work that art historians would write about endlessly and fans could purchase reproduced as an iPhone case some 75 years later. It is, to say the least, a big, important painting. What I care about, though, is that this photograph was taken by Herbert Matter at The Art of This Century gallery in 1947.

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