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Jackson Pollock

Sleeping Effort

1953

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Recently conserved with funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. 

An iconic figure of postwar painting in New York, Jackson Pollock produced this work when he returned to a form of abstracted figuration after creating his completely nonrepresentational drip paintings in the late 1940s. In works like Sleeping Effort Pollock synthesized the expressive handling of his drip paintings with the psychological interests of his work from earlier in the 1940s. He was influenced by the theories of Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung and Surrealist notions of the human unconscious, both of which focus on dreams and desires as conduits to the psyche. Sleeping Effort itself suggests a dreamlike state: a reclining figure in the foreground is surrounded by unidentifiable imagery floating in an amorphous blue background. Built up into a thick impasto of rich colors, Pollock’s brushwork is typical of Abstract Expressionist gestural painting, in which visible brushstrokes are seen as physical traces of the creative act. [Permanent collection label, 2017]

  • Artist Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956)
  • Title Sleeping Effort
  • Date 1953
  • Medium Oil and enamel on canvas
  • Dimensions unframed | 49 7/8 x 76 in.
  • Credit line University purchase, Bixby Fund, 1954
  • Object number WU 3842
  • Currently on View James M. Kemper Gallery, Room 1

Frederick Hartt and American Abstraction in the 1950s: Building the Collection at Washington University in St. Louis
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 05/04/2012 - 08/27/2012

Picasso to Pollock: H.W. Janson and the Legacy of Modern Art at Washington University in St. Louis
Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum (San Antonio, Texas), 08/17/2004 - 10/24/2004

Collecting Patterns
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 09/05/2003 - 12/07/2003

H. W. Janson and the Legacy of Modern Art at Washington University in St. Louis
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 08/30/2002 - 12/08/2002
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries (New York, New York), 03/12/2002 - 04/06/2002

International Abstraction: Art of the 1950s from the Washington University Collections
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 01/22/1999 - 03/28/1999

Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 01/12/1998 - 04/05/1998

Abstract Expressionism: American Art in the 1950s and 1960s
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 01/17/1997 - 04/06/1997

A Gallery of Modern Art
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 08/09/1994 - 10/16/1994

Twentieth Century Art from the Washington University Collection
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 01/28/1994 - 03/27/1994

Cubists, Surrealists, and Expressionists
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 05/15/1983 - 09/04/1983

Modernism at Midstream: From Europe to America and Back Again
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 09/04/1983 - 11/06/1983

Cubist, Expressionist, and Surrealist Paintings and Sculptures
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 09/20/1980 - 11/02/1980

Summer Selections
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 05/24/1979 - 08/31/1979

Jackson Pollock
Museum of Modern Art, New York, 04/03/1967 - 06/04/1967
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, California), 07/19/1967 - 09/03/1967

Washington University Collection of Modern Paintings and Sculpture from Daumier to Pollock
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, Missouri), 04/06/1966 - 05/08/1966

Expressionism: Force of the Fifties
Charlotte Crosby Kemper Gallery, Kansas City Art Institute (Kansas City, Missouri), 01/13/1965 - 02/04/1965

Jackson Pollock: 1912–1956
Marlborough-Gerson Gallery (New York, New York), 01/14/1964 - 02/15/1964

American Painting 1910–1960: A Special Exhibition Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Association of College Unions
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana), 04/19/1964 - 05/10/1964

Opening Exhibition of Mark C. Steinberg Memorial Hall
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 04/29/1960

IV Bienal de Museu de Arte Moderna-U.S. Section
Museu de Arte Moderna (Sao Paolo, Brazil), 09/01/1957 - 12/01/1957

Jackson Pollock, New Oils
Sidney Janis Gallery (New York, New York), 02/01/1954 - 02/27/1954

Collector's Choice [traveling exhibition]

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York

Inscription [LL:] Jackson Pollock '53

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