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Thursday, 11 March, 1999, 11:16 GMT
London welcomes Jack the Dripper
Blue Poles: Number 11, 1952
A major retrospective of Jackson Pollock's paintings opens in London on Thursday - the first such exhibition of his work in the UK for more than 40 years.

White Light, 1954
Derided by many as a creator of childlike doodles rather than art, Pollock's paintings had a major influence on art in the latter half of the 20th century, sparking the emergence of abstract expressionism.

The Tate Gallery retrospective is organised by The Museum of Modern Art in New York and features 80 of Pollock's works. The paintings are drawn from collections worldwide and London is the only European venue for the exhibition.

Birth, circa 1938-41
Pollock is generally regarded as a self destructive, tortured genius - wrecked by alcoholism and depression.

He painted in a unique way, dripping paint from a brush or a stick held above the canvas, earning him the nickname "Jack the Dripper".

In 1949 Life magazine in the US ran a feature on the 37-year-old artist entitled "Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?"

Figure 1948-9
By the time he died in a car crash in 1956, he had become a cultural icon comparable to the likes of actor James Dean or poet Dylan Thomas.

He is most famous for his large canvases which show weblike patterns of interlacing lines, with puddles and splatters of colour.

Often regarded as his flawed masterpiece, Blue Poles, which covers an area almost five metres by two metres, is just one of the paintings on display in the UK for the first time.

Jackson Pollock, 11 March - 6 June 1999, Tate Gallery

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