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New York

Family History
Manual Arts H.S.
Otis Art Institute
D.A. Siqueiros
Post Surrealism
New York
The New Deal
1950 to 2000


Pollock's Skull
Harold Lehman (The skull was borrowed from Jackson Pollock.)
New York, NY, 1940

In 1935, Lehman returned to New York. The following year, D.A. Siqueiros along with the Mexican muralist Orozco came east for the first American Artist's Congress. Siqueiros and Lehman began organizing an "experimental workshop" in New York.

Lehman recruited many American artists, including Jackson Pollock, while Siqueiros brought in artists from Mexico and South America. Their purpose was to do experimental large-scale work using modern technology and materials. Specifically, no oil paint or canvas was to be used. Automotive enamels and lacquers on wood panels was their medium. It was during this workshop that the drip technique was conceived.

Pollock, who did become a member of this group, would popularize the technique thirteen years later with his own abstract drip paintings.

In Jackson Pollock: An American Saga (c1989), Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith say:

No matter how large the image, Siqueiros never worked from a drawing or a cartoon, preferring to work directly - in "partnership" with his materials. He studied the dynamics of paint - its density, its viscosity, its flow rate - in an effort to incorporate those dynamics into the image, letting the paint itself help create the painting..."Accidental" images were also created by pouring paints of different colors onto a board, then pouring thinner on top. As the thinner began to flow it would form rivulets though the layers of color, creating "the most fantastic, weird patterns", Harold Lehman recalls..." Many of his images started the same way," says Lehman, " with automatic dissolvings of paint from which he would pick out images and develop them. That wasn't just one of Siqueiros' techniques, it was the technique."

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Self Portrait,1935

Self Portrait
Harold Lehman, 1935

Jackson Pollack,1949

Jackson Pollock with skull in studio, 1949.