New York

Jackson Pollock

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

On April 30, 1961, The New York Times Magazine published five letters to the editor regarding an article by Clement Greenberg that had appeared in its pages two weeks earlier, entitled (against the author’s will) “The Jackson Pollock Market Soars.” Among the illustrations for his piece, Greenberg had used an early Pollock drawing after one of Michelangelo’s Ignudi in the Sistine Chapel, which two of the writers thought was a cheap trick. Indeed, even though this particular drawing was not discussed, the text—an attack against the stereotype of Pollock as an artiste maudit—made its function perfectly clear. The image was there to show that Pollock had paid his dues: he had studied the classics (Greenberg even lengthened Pollock’s apprenticeship, stating that “he did not finish it until he was 30,” which would be in 1942); and he knew how to draw. This last argument is usually a quite

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