Jackson Pollock temporarily turned away from his colorful, all-over drip paintings to create a group of exclusively black “pourings.” Here, thinned enamel paint, flung or squirted with a large basting syringe, seeps into the unprimed canvas and dries very slowly, blending and combining the artist’s gestural swirls. While some previous works had been non-representational—complete abstractions—Pollock’s black paintings often included mysterious figures from his subconscious, like the face and breasts (or hands?) seen here. This work thus shows his interest in surrealism and psychology, as well as his ongoing experiments with the materials and processes of painting.



  • Title: Number 23, 1951
  • Creator: Jackson Pollock
  • Creator Lifespan: 1912/1956
  • Creator Nationality: American
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Springs, NY
  • Creator Birth Place: Cody, WY
  • Date: 1951/1951
  • Location Created: Springs, NY, United States
  • Provenance: Martha Jackson, acquired from the artist, 1954; Martha Jackson Gallery for the Estate of Martha Jackson; Parke Bernet Galleries sale, New York, Nov. 18, 1970 (lot 6); Harry W. Anderson, Atherton, Calif., 1970; M. Knoedler and Co., New York; Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.; Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. to The Chrysler Museum, 1983.
  • Physical Dimensions: 58 1/2 x 47 in. (148.6 x 119.4 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: © The Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • Medium: Enamel on canvas

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