Jackson Pollock 1950 gallery invitation Betty Parsons

Rare and important original 1950 gallery invitation to Jackson Pollock exhibition at Betty Parsons Gallery. Lithograph on paper measures 3 x 31 inches when unfolded. Sheet is folded into four sections. The design is especially interesting as it lends itself to display as a sculptural object when partially unfolded. Excellent condition with no damage or restoration. What looks like smudging in the white of the signature panel is actually ink from the reverse side. Provenance: collection of Morris Golde. 


Betty Parsons Gallery: November 28 – December 16, 1950  Jackson Pollock’s fourth exhibition

Jackson Pollock’s fourth solo show at the Betty Parsons Gallery was November 28 – December 16, 1950: 32 paintings were shown, hung from floor to ceiling. Works includedLavender Mist: Number 1 (now in the permanent collection of The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC); Number 3; Number 5 (now in the permanent collection of the Cleveland Museum of Arts);  Number 7 (now in the permanent collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts); Number 8Number 27Number 28Number 29Autumn Rhythm: Number 30 (nowin the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art); One: Number 31 (in the permanent collection of MOMA) and Number 32 (now in the permanent collection of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf).   Artist, Pollock patron, Alfonso Ossorio made the only purchase, acquiring Lavender Mist.

Reviews in the general press were mixed – reviews in the art press were favorable. Robert Coates in The New Yorker (December 9, 1950) criticized One: Number 31 andAutumn Rhythm: Number 30 for their “meaningless embellishment.” Howard Devree in The New York Times asked his readers “Does [Jackson Pollock’s] personal comment ever come through to us?” Belle Krasne [B.K.] wrote in Art Digest (December 1, 1950) that the work was Pollock’s “richest and most exciting to date” and Art News chose the exhibition as the second best solo show in their January 1951 issue. (John Marin was first and Alberto Giacometti was third).

Jackson Pollock is best known for these Action Paintings.  Action painting (also sometimes called Gestural Abstraction) is a technique where paint is spontaneously splashed, dribbled or smeared onto the canvas as opposed to being carefully and mindfully applied with a paintbrush. This style became widespread in the 1950’s and 1960’s, completely due to Jackson’s break threw, and is closely linked with Abstract Expressionism. The term “Action Painting” was coined by American art critic Harold Rosenberg in 1952. This style of painting focuses on art as a process rather than just a finished product. The act of creation itself is the point and not just the painting alone.

The Abstract Expressionism  movement, was a post-World War II art phenomena, almost more than an ‘evolution’, which essentially put New York at the center of the Western art world.  Painting in this style consisted of applying emphasis on spontaneous motion. Pollock was well accustomed to that approach as he had already adopted ‘action’ painting, a technique whereby colour is randomly splashed, smeared and dripped onto a canvas. Part of what made Pollock’s style unique was his belief that the journey involved in creating art was just as important as the finished product.  In 1949-1950 there were only Willem De Kooning and Jackson Pollock advancing trumpeting the call to abstract expressionism.  So revolutionary, so American was this groundbreaking attack on art was Abstract Expressionism that both were featured in separate articles in Life Magazine – For the first time in the history of art, America took center stage in the world of contemporary art.

Morris Golde, a businessman and friend of the arts, who supported organizations like the Erick Hawkins Dance Foundation and the New York Festival of Song, of which he was a board member, died on Sunday at a hospital in Manhattan. He was 81.

Though business was Mr. Golde’s profession, the arts were his passion. Among the close friends to whom he gave support at various times were the composer Ned Rorem (whose early romantic relationship with Mr. Golde is recounted in Mr. Rorem’s 1994 memoir, ”Knowing When to Stop”), the poet John Ashbery, the dancer Erick Hawkins, the composer Virgil Thomson and the poet Frank O’Hara. In 1966, O’Hara was staying at Mr. Golde’s summer house on Fire Island, along with Thomson and another friend, J. J. Mitchell, when he was run over by a beach buggy and killed.

Perpetually cheerful and energetic, Mr. Golde was a loyal supporter of arts schools, including Juilliard, the Harlem School of the Arts and the Greenwich House Music School, as well as of arts organizations, including the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Poetry Project of St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery.