In 1946, inspired in part by the "automatic" techniques of the Surrealists, Pollock began to drip paint onto canvases laid flat on the floor. The "poured" paintings demonstrated revolutionary concepts of composition, artistic prowess, and the creative process along with establishing a viable new role for risk and spontaneity in the visual arts. Exerting great physical control while, at the same time, inviting chance into his work, the artist used his entire body to pour and drip enamel, aluminum, and oil paint from sticks, hardened brushes, and cans. In the process he elevated line to an independently expressive element, liberating it from being merely descriptive to being the record of the artist's creative, intuitive gesture. The year before Number 9 was painted, Pollock began to title his works by number and date only.
His wife, painter Lee Krasner, said at the time:
"Numbers are neutral. They make people look at a picture for what it is - pure painting."
Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-1956)
Number 9, 1949
Oil on canvas, 44 1/4 x 34 in.
Gift of Tony Smith, 1967.15
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
Paper size: 36 x 26 in.
Image size: 30 x 23 in.