In 1945, Peggy Guggenheim lent some money to Jackson Pollock and his wife, the well- known painter Lee Krasner, to a buy a wooden house with a barn in Springs, Long Island. Who knows whether she had guessed that in that barn would later turn into a study and workshop a key chapter of history of art would have been written. In 1947, inside that barn, a painter abandons the traditional easel behind, lays a canvas on the old floor and starts a sort of circular dance, a physical and dynamic painting where the colour drips directly on the canvas: “Alchemy” was created in this way and with it the painting technique known as “dripping” or “pouring”.
What is now on today at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is the extraordinary adventure of the restoration of this painting, due to the severe discoloration of the original colours, one of the most important artworks of the XX century.
The exhibition takes the visitor towards the artwork presented in its renewed original chromatic composition, thanks to an engaging multi- media interactive device, which shows the single steps of the restoration, and many interesting evocative objects, such as pots of colour, his mother’s frame where he mounted the canvas, painting tools, the original photographs, which portray Jackson Pollock engrossed in his initial phases of this creation (please notice the still immaculate floor, the same floor that in a few years would become an immense and indistinct dripping composition itself).
And the result? The traditional critics used to describe “Alchemy” as a black painting with significant silver streaks. Instead what you see today, for the first time with no showcase to protect it, is “extended brush strokes of 19 colours from red to yellow, blue, orange, as if a big bang of colours had come out of a greyish tone” underlines Luciano Pensabene Buemi, conservator and curator of the exhibition together with Roberto Bellucci, Restorer Conservator Officer at Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence.
Opificio delle Pietre Dure
Matteo De Fina
Alchemy by Jackson Pollock
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Until 6th April