Paint Application Studies of Jackson Pollock’s Mural

(lively music) – [Voiceover] To many
people, Jackson Pollock’s painting technique is quite unique. With Mural, we felt most of the colors were applied with the canvas upright. Paint is being splashed
and thrown at the canvas despite most of it being
applied in this fairly conventional way with a brush. But one paint, this pink, stringy paint really aroused our suspicions. It had a certain consistency,
it hadn’t dribbled down the canvas, there was no
indications as the other splashed paints that the
painting had been vertical. But it really wasn’t clear
how he could have done this. It’s an enormous canvas, we
know from his own recollections and Lee Krasner, his future
wife, that they had to tear down an interior wall to make space for this 20 foot wide
canvas and even though there would have been
space perhaps just to squeeze in horizontally,
it would have been so tight it’s very hard to imagine
how he could have reached into the middle of the
painting to apply these very delicate areas in the
way that he did later on, where he was literally
stepping on to the canvas. It would have been quite
exciting had we found a very early instance of
the canvas going horizontal four years before he really
turned to this technique. But in fact, we found that
a regular oil paint, if it’s manipulated or it is thinned
slightly with turpentine, but more importantly, boiled
oil is added to the mix, it has a very different
consistency to regular thinned oil. When it’s flung at the
canvas, the paint would land on the canvas often in
these shapes where you had really intricate, very
thin airs of paint often in figures of eight and beautiful curves. It does develop these very,
very fine beads of paint and streams of paint,
they land on the surface and they don’t drip down and
it was a really sort of amazing moment where we realized it
must have been done vertically. (lively music)

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