As the single most recognizable practitioner of Abstract Expressionism —the movement that put America and, specifically, post-World War II New York at the epicenter of painting’s avant-garde— Jackson Pollock was a genuine art star.
Pollock’s work was often referred to as “action painting,” and the dance-like performance in which he engaged while making a painting was integral to the aesthetic result. Instead of using an easel, he’d stretch a canvas on the floor of his barn and scamper around all four sides as he painted. Rather than using brushes, he used sticks to flick and drip paint, or he poured it straight from the can, favoring household enamels over traditional oils.
Today, a painting from Pollock’s “drip period” can fetch north of $100 million at auction.