In 1998, Kirk Varnedoe wrote in his catalogue for the Jackson Pollock exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art:
The Indians of Pollock’s childhood years in Arizona had dominantly been figures of indigence or of the tourist picturesque, but his early acquaintance with their lore, pictographs, and ceremonies had marked him. If part of his Western image was cowboy, the other part now increasingly became Indian-not so much via the tribes he had seen in his youth as through ethnological publications and New York museums. The prime event was the large exhibition Indian Art of the United States, mounted by the Museum of Modern Art in 1941; Pollock went several times, and made sure to attend the demonstration in which Native Americans created an image on the ground by “painting” with colored sands dropped from their fists. But before that he had begun haunting the Heye Collection (now the National Museum of the American Indian) and the Northwest Coast and Inuit collections at New York’s Museum of Natural History. The combinations of strong graphic rhythms, zoomorphic imagery, and myths of man-best transformation in the art of these cultures had made a deep impression. *
The Washburn Gallery and the Donald Ellis Gallery will exhibit a selection of early 1940’s drawings by Jackson Pollock with important related Native American and Inuit works to further reveal the cross cultural influences in Jackson Pollock’s development.
The Washburn Gallery is the exclusive representative for the works by Jackson Pollock in the collection of The Pollock-Krasner Foundation. The Gallery was opened in 1971 by Joan Washburn and is widely known for distinguished, inventive exhibitions devoted to American Art of the 19th and 20th Century, particularly Folk Art, The Stieglitz Circle, abstract artists of the 1930s and 40s, and the abstract expressionists of the 1950s and 60s. The gallery has participated in the Basel Art Fairs for many years and is a member of The Art Dealers Association of America.
Donald Ellis, an internationally pre-eminent dealer in the field of antique North American Indian art has been advising private collectors, corporations and museums since 1976. The gallery maintains a particular emphasis on the art of the Eskimo, Northwest Coast and Eastern Woodlands cultures.
* Excerpt from Comet: Jackson Pollock’s Life and Work, by Kirk Varnedoe, catalogue essay for the exhibition Jackson Pollock, Museum of Modern Art, 1998, curated by Kirk Varnedoe with Pepe Karmel.