Portrait and a Dream (1953) by Jackson Pollock

Portrait and a Dream - Jackson Pollock - 1953

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait and a Dream
ArtistJackson Pollock
Dimensions342.2 x 148.5 cm
Art MovementAbstract Expressionism
Current LocationDallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX, US

About Portrait and a Dream

“Portrait and a Dream,” an artwork by Jackson Pollock created in 1953, is an exemplar of Abstract Expressionism. This oil painting measures 342.2 x 148.5 cm and is currently housed at the Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, Texas, United States. The genre of the artwork is abstract, reflecting the movement’s embrace of non-representational forms and the emotional intensity conveyed through the physical act of painting.

The artwork presents a stark juxtaposition of forms and techniques characteristic of Pollock’s mature work. On the left side, there is a dense web of black and white lines, where paint has been dripped, poured, and flung onto the canvas in Pollock’s signature style. This side of the artwork illustrates his renowned “drip” technique, creating an intense field of entangled lines and shapes that suggests a high level of kinetic energy and spontaneity.

On the right, in sharp contrast, there appears to be a more definable representation of a face and possibly a figure. This portion is colored with bold oranges, yellows, blacks, and white, and while the features are abstracted, they seem to coalesce into a semblance of a portrait. The use of color here is more concentrated, with strokes that seem deliberate in their attempt to form a dreaming visage.

As with much of Pollock’s work, “Portrait and a Dream” defies a single interpretation. The abstract forms invite the viewer to find personal resonance and meaning within the energetic lines and bold swathes of color. The painting is a testament to Pollock’s revolutionary approach to canvas and composition, where the process of painting itself becomes the subject of the artwork.

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