During his lifetime, J. Pollock went through a heavy alcoholism issue when he was taken to rehabilitation where he had sessions with few Jungian psychoanalytical , C.G. Jung himself involving. After that J. Pollock’s art has been highly influenced by the Jungian theories.

Paintings to look at when writing the critical dissertation:

  • ”Naked Man with Knife, 1938-1940”
  • ”Moon Woman Cuts the Circle, 1943”
  • ‘’Birth, 1941’’


”Images like ”Bird”, and all the like that followed in his first solo exhibition, of 1943, trumpet their connections to myth, archetype, and things primordial, with iconographies that invite source-hunting and with a sleeve-tugging insistence on big mysteries. But their version of the unconscious – icon-driven and centred on the dark oppositions or gloomy menace, to the exclusion of anything lucid – seems more impersonally of its time than revelatory of something unique to Pollock.”

Thomas Hess about Pollock’s art in early 1940’s: ”He still takes the Bog Subject as his premise; Birth, Love and Death are indicated on the canvas in rough images – an animal’s head, a broken lance, eyes, the sun, a beast, ”meaningless” stenographic signs. And then he proceeds to paint them together in a flat wall of living, opulent material. the ”background” shapes become as interesting as the objects they enclose. the surfaces become mural instead of compositionally muralistic. each part of the painting receives the same concentrated attention.”

”A man fascinated by spiritual symbols”

”Birth, 1941” make unmistakable reference to Eskimo masks <…> If the picture’s torquing can be read metaphorically, it might be taken to conjure the natal pains not only its newly self-invented author but of envy that would keep…” relation to P. Picasso’s art.

”Male and Female, 1942”, ”The She-Wolf,1943”.

”Mythic/symbolic personages and animals that dominated his first show”.

Horn, Rebecca (2001). All these black days – between: [postcard collages and texts]. London: Thames & Hudson.


Bryan Robertson noted ”that Pollock was ”in close touch with Jungian analyst” and ”greatly influenced by the writings and teachings of Jung”; in this context he cited a few examples of the artist’s ”concern for a Jungian interpretation of mythology” insisting especially on ”Moon Woman Cuts the Circle, 1943” which ”comes very clearly from a Jungian interpretation of matriarchy in which the moon is the matriarchal sphere”.

”Moon Woman Cuts the Circle” can be seen as Pollock’s self-birth as and artist and indeed, as the psychological paradigm for the creative act in Pollock’s work not only in the 1943 but also throughout his career.”

Symbols in J. Pollock’s work are very common and linked to his own artwork psychoanalysis.

Karmel, Pepe (1999). Jackson Pollock: Interviews, Articles and Reviews. New York: The Museum of Modern Art.


”Pollock’s use of Surrealist imagery to depict archetypes; the title of the work which is suggestive of birth, part of the Jungian cycle of birth, death and rebirth. While not denying the probability that ‘his art not only reflects a concern for Jung’s central thesis of the “collective unconscious” but contains at least some reference to particular images and symbols discussed in his analytical sessions” (William Rubin, ‘Pollock as Jungian Illustrator: The Limits of Psychological Criticism’, Art in America, vol.67, Nov. 1979, p.106)

”Pollock’s Birth is shot through with primeval energy. The process of birth is seen as a desperate struggle. The mask-like faces, drawn from Inuit and Native American art, lend the image an unrestrained energy. Like many modernist artists, Pollock was fascinated by ‘primitive’ art for its expression of fundamental human fears and desires, particularly as traditional ideas of ‘civilization’ were tainted by Europe’s slide into fascism and war.”



”Pollock was beginning to find his own individual style when he made this work. The startlingly violent image of three interlocking figures was derived from a lost work by the Mexican painter José Clemente Orozco showing the fraternal struggle between Cain and Abel. Pollock’s exploration of the theme may reflect his interest in the archetypal myths explored in Jungian psychoanalysis. The subject may also refer to the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War, which engulfed Europe as America looked on with horror.”



”Influenced by the Surrealist strategy of automatism (drawing, painting, or writing freely to unearth un- or subconscious desires) as well as his experience in Jungian psychoanalysis, Pollock believed his free and yet controlled application of paint had a connection to his inner being—his unconscious—which was in turn connected to larger forces outside the self. One: Number 31, 1950 exemplifies this relationship between the self and the universal. When asked to describe the relationship between his work and nature, Pollock stated emphatically, “I am nature.”




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