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NYC - MoMA: Jackson Pollock's Full Fathom Five

Full Fathom Five, 1947

Oil on canvas with nails, tacks, buttons, key, coins, cigarettes, matches, etc., 50 7/8 x 30 1/8" (129.2 x 76.5 cm)

Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-1956)

 

Full Fathom Five is one of Pollock's first "drip" paintings. While its top layers consist of poured lines of black and shiny silver house paint, a large part of the paint's crust was applied by brush and palette knife; the result is a labyrinthine web that reveals an instantaneous unity between multiple crisscrossing and planar forms with no contours. An assortment of detritus, from cigarette butts to coins and a key, are enfolded by the paint. Though many of these items are obscured, they contribute to the painting's dense surface and churning sensation. The title, suggested by Pollock's neighbor, quotes from Shakespeare's The Tempest, wherein Ariel describes a death by shipwreck: "Full fathom five thy father lies / Of his bones are coral made / Those are pearls that were his eyes."

 

Gift of Peggy Guggenheim.

 

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The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 and is often recognized as the most influential museum of modern art in the world. Over the course of the next ten years, the Museum moved three times into progressively larger temporary quarters, and in 1939 finally opened the doors of its midtown home, located on 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in midtown.

 

MoMA's holdings include more than 150,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, architectural models and drawings, and design objects. Highlights of the collection inlcude Vincent Van Gogh's The Starry Night, Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory, Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiseels d'Avignon and Three Musicians, Claude Monet's Water Lilies, Piet Mondrian's Broadway Boogie Woogie, Paul Gauguin's The Seed of the Areoi, Henri Matisse's Dance, Marc Chagall's I and the Village, Paul Cezanne's The Bather, Jackson Pollack's Number 31, 1950, and Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans. MoMA also owns approximately 22,000 films and four million film stills, and MoMA's Library and Archives, the premier research facilities of their kind in the world, hold over 300,000 books, artist books, and periodicals, and extensive individual files on more than 70,000 artists.

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Taken on March 16, 2008