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(b Cody, Wyo., 28 Jan. 1912; d East Hampton, Long Island, NY, 11 Aug. 1956). American painter, the commanding figure of the Abstract Expressionist movement. In 1929–31 he studied at the Art Students League of New York under Thomas Hart Benton and was influenced not only by Benton's restlessly energetic style, but also by his image as a virile, hard-drinking macho-man (Pollock began treatment for alcoholism in 1937 and in 1939 he started therapy with Jungian psychoanalysts, using his drawings in sessions with them). During the 1930s he painted in Benton's Regionalist vein, and he was influenced also by the work of the Mexican muralists (he attended an experimental workshop run by Siqueiros in New York in 1936) and by certain aspects of Surrealism, particularly the use of mythical or totemic figures as archetypes of the unconscious.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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