+

Create your first list.

A way to share and manage lots.

  • "The prints are intense, complex and crowded with swelling biomorphic shapes that seem to arrive at their definitions through a kind of pulsating, spontaneous energy."
    —Phyllis Braff, "Jackson Pollock, on a Modest Scale", The New York Times, July 29, 1990.
    Braff wrote about Pollock’s rare set of lifetime screenprints in 1990 when the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in East Hampton focused an exhibition of these six prints. These works were created 40 years prior, for Pollock’s exhibition of ‘black paintings’ at Betty Parsons Gallery in New York in 1951. The screenprints themselves are one-quarter size ‘stenciled reproductions’ chosen from the series of twenty-eight ‘black paintings’, photographed by Pollock and his brother Sanford McCoy.

     

    The ‘black paintings’ in Jackson Pollock’s studio, 1950. Photograph by Hans Namuth. Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona © 1991 Hans Namuth Estate.  (paintings Number 8, Number 9, Number 22 and Number 27 in this photograph were made into prints)
    The ‘black paintings’ in Jackson Pollock’s studio, 1950. Photograph by Hans Namuth. Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona © 1991 Hans Namuth Estate. 
    (paintings Number 8, Number 9, Number 22 and Number 27 in this photograph were made into prints)

    It seems obvious that Pollock would have been interested in exploring the compositions of his paintings at different scales and affordability as the new paintings were very important to him, but in 1951 there was no straightforward technological solution. Printed at McCoy’s advanced commercial printshop in Deep River, Connecticut in an edition of 25, the prints were produced to be sold alongside the paintings at the Betty Parsons opening for $200 a set. “Their intention (Sanford’s and Jackson’s) was that the suite should remain together (although it did not turn out this way),” said Jason McCoy, Sandford’s son. “The prints were to be numbered and signed as they were sold, but numbering was not a priority. Owners could frame and then hang them in any order they wished. The images could talk to each other, change by contiguity, profess their differences, and share their similarities.”

     

    Installation view of Betty Parsons, 1951 (from left to right Number 16, Number 7, Number 23, and Number 9). Photograph by Hans Namuth. Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona © 1991 Hans Namuth Estate.
    Installation view of Betty Parsons gallery, 1951 (from left to right Number 16, Number 7, Number 23, and Number 9). Photograph by Hans Namuth. Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona © 1991 Hans Namuth Estate.

     

    Jackson Pollock at work on the ‘black paintings’ (Number 8), 1950. Photograph by Hans Namuth. Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona © 1991 Hans Namuth Estate.
    Jackson Pollock at work on the ‘black paintings’ (Number 22), 1950. Photograph by Hans Namuth. Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona © 1991 Hans Namuth Estate.

     Full of stark contrast, the already graphic paintings translated easily to ink on paper. The screens were made in the photonegative method, an uncommon technology at the time. Reba and Dave Williams write on their printing in their essay “The Prints of Jackson Pollock” for Print Quarterly, December 1998:

     

    “While today photographic screenprints are commonplace, Richard Field [the Art Historian] says that Pollock's execution of these prints from photographic stencils was ‘an unheard of but forward-looking event for the day’. And, as Field goes on to explain, ‘comparison reveals that Pollock tried to work on the stencils, obliterating some areas, changing other passages’. The prints are therefore not exact replicas of the paintings.”

  • detail of screenprint Untitled (after Number 22, 1951) 

    When one looks at the impressions in the set being offered here, there appear to be a couple of wonderful unique anomalies – Untitled (after Number 22, 1951) has a perfect ink splatter in the lower right margin and has one of the infrequent signatures by Pollock, and Untitled (after Number 27, 1951) shows stray inky edges along the lower left of the paper.  

     

    Pollock’s use of screenprinting to create a more ‘commercial’ object to sell alongside his paintings, anticipated the emergence of a printmaking Renaissance as Pop artists like Andy Warhol made wide use of printmaking, selling editions, and ephemera alongside shows of paintings. Essentially, Jackson Pollock had “adapt[ed] a reproductive process that Andy Warhol would later legitimize,” wrote Helen A. Harrison, Director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, East Hampton New York. “The intimate scale and experimental character [of these prints] speak to the viewer in the visual equivalent of a provocative and compelling whisper that complements the major paintings’ siren call.”

     

    Phyllis Braff for the New York Times again in 1990 wrote, “[In these prints] Pollock suggests that perception can be the subject, as he leads the viewer into a prolonged engagement with the ambiguities presented by the veiled imagery.” Veiled indeed, the spellbinding imagery and historic context within each of the six screenprints has captivated his audiences for decades.

    • Condition Report

    • Description

      View our Conditions of Sale.

    • Literature

      Francis O'Connor and Eugene Thaw 1091-1096
      Reba and Dave Williams, The Prints of Jackson Pollock, Print Quarterly, December 1988
      Helen A. Harrison, Jackson Pollock: Prints, exhibition catalogue, The Gallery, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, 1997
      Gavin Delahunty, Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots, Tate Publishing, London, 2015

    • Catalogue Essay

      Including: Untitled (after Number 7, 1951), (O'C. & T. 1091); Untitled (after Number 8 - Black Flowing, 1951), (O'C. & T. 1092); Untitled (after Number 9, 1951) (O'C. & T. 1093); Untitled (after Number 19, 1951), (O'C. & T. 1094); Untitled (after Number 22, 1951), (O'C. & T. 1095); and Untitled (after Number 27, 1951), (O'C. & T. 1096)

      Howard Mendes was born in Brooklyn, lived in Hell’s Kitchen and passed away on his 85th birthday in July 2020. Howard had a distinguished career in commercial real estate investment and community lending. He was committed to community based planning and his involvement has long been felt throughout Manhattan. Howard served as officer and director on community boards such as New York City Citizens Housing and Planning Council, New York City Settlement Housing Fund, Midtown Manhattan New York City Community Board 5, the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association and the 14th Street Union Square Business Improvement District. He was an avid traveler collecting beautiful and eclectic works of art from around the world. Other works from his collection are Picasso lots 109, 111-112, Louise Nevelson 183-184 and Josef Albers lot 201.

Property from the Estate of Howard Mendes, New York City

25

Untitled Portfolio (O'C. & T. 1091-1096)

1951
The rare, complete set of six lifetime screenprints, each on two sheets of Strathmore paper glued together, as issued, all with blindstamps, with full margins.
approximately (5) I. 17 x 22 in. (43.2 x 55.9 cm)
(1) I. 19 x 17 in. (48.3 x 43.2 cm)
all (three vertical) S. 23 x 29 in. (58.4 x 73.7 cm)

Untitled (after Number 22, 1951) signed, dated ’51 and numbered ‘Ed 25/14’ in black ink, all from the edition of about 25 printed in 1951 (there was also a numbered edition of 50 printed posthumously in 1964 by Lee Krasner and the Pollock Estate), printed by the artist and his brother, Sanford McCoy, Deep River, Connecticut, all framed.
titles: Untitled (after Number 7, 1951); Untitled (after Number 8 - Black Flowing, 1951); Untitled (after Number 9, 1951); Untitled (after Number 19, 1951); Untitled (after Number 22, 1951); and Untitled (after Number 27, 1951)

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$100,000 - 150,000 

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist

[email protected]

212 940 1220

 

Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 20 - 22 April 2021