Guardians of the Secret is a renowned painting by Jackson Pollock from 1943. The piece is inspired by Native American art and Jungian mythology, and reflects Pollock’s exposure to these themes throughout his life. Growing up in the West, he was influenced by Native American art at an early age. Then, in 1941, he attended the Indian Art Exhibition at MoMA with his Jungian analyst where he was immersed in different styles and techniques.
The painting is characterized by a blend of African, Native American, and prehistoric art as well as touches of Miró and Picasso. It can be seen as a synthesis of many sources that were important to Pollock throughout his life. Guardians of the Secret was one of the most talked-about works during Pollock’s first solo show at the Guggenheim in New York in 1943.
The painting embodies several themes and influences that were significant to Pollock over time. These include world mythology, African and Native American art, prehistoric artistry among others. Guardians of the Secret represents Pollock’s creativity at its peak while also displaying how traditional sources can inspire modern artwork.