Number 23, 1951

Jackson Pollock
American (1912–1956)
Number 23, 1951, 1951
Enamel on canvas
83.592

Between 1947 and 1950 in New York, Jackson Pollock produced the revolutionary, multicolored “pouring” that would prove to be the most famous works of his troubled and tragically brief career. In 1951–52, after one of many dark periods struggling with alcoholism and depression, Pollock temporarily turned away from color and pure abstraction to produce a group of exclusively black figurative paintings and drawings.

Among the most potent of these black pourings is Number 23, 1951, in which a hulking figure looms within a thicket of black paint. Inspired in part by the Jungian psychotherapy he was undergoing to treat his alcoholism, Number 23, 1951 recalls the artist’s figurative works from the 1930s.