Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)

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Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)
Autumn Rhythm.jpg
ArtistJackson Pollock Edit this on Wikidata
MediumEnamel paint on canvas
Movementabstract expressionism, action painting Edit this on Wikidata
Dimensions266.7 cm (105.0 in) × 525.8 cm (207.0 in)
IdentifiersThe Met object ID: 488978

Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) is a 1950 abstract expressionist painting by American artist Jackson Pollock in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.[1] The work is a distinguished example of Pollock's 1947-52 poured-painting style, and is often considered one of his most notable works.[1][2]


Autumn Rhythm was made in the fall of 1950 at Pollock's studio in Springs, New York, as part of a group of paintings he first exhibited at the Betty Parsons Gallery in November–December, 1951.[3] Pollock's technique in the painting, like others made during this part of his career, involved working on unprimed canvas laid on the floor of his studio, pouring paint from cans or using sticks, heavily loaded brushes and other implements to control a stream of paint as he dripped and flung it onto the canvas.[4] At 17 feet wide and 8 feet high, Autumn Rhythm is among Pollock's largest pictures.

The creation of Autumn Rhythm was partly documented by Hans Namuth, who photographed Pollock at work over several months in 1950.[5] According to art historian Monica Bohm-Duchen, Namuth's photographs lend insight to the sequence in which Pollock filled in the canvas, and the order in which paint colors were applied to the work. Pollock began by painting the right third of the canvas, laying down a skein of thin black lines, and then adding other colors of paint (mostly browns and white, with a small amount of teal blue) using several methods of dripping and pouring to create a variety of types of lines and puddled areas of paint until the section began to resemble its finished state. He then moved on to the center section, and ultimately the left-hand section using the same process. Throughout the making of the work, he painted from all sides of the canvas.[6]

Title and exhibition[edit]

Pollock gave the painting the title Number 30, and it was exhibited under that name at the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1951, and at the Museum of Modern Art as part of its 15 Americans exhibition in 1952.[1][7] From 1947 to 1952, Pollock gave his works numbers rather than titles in order not to distract viewers with implied meanings.[4] The numbered titles do not appear to correspond to the sequence in which works were made.[8] When the picture was shown at the Sidney Janis Gallery in 1955, it carried the title Autumn Rhythm with no reference to the number.[1] Pollock did not record why he changed the title of the painting; art historian Timothy J. Clark believes that Autumn Rhythm was Pollock’s own title, in contrast to some other works of this period, which received title suggestions from Pollock’s friend, critic Clement Greenberg.[9] In 1957, the Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired the painting from Pollock's estate for $20,000 plus a trade of a work already in the Met collection, Number 17, 1951. Met curator Robert Beverly Hale proposed and supervised the acquisition.[10] Since then, the work has generally been exhibited as Autumn Rhythm (Number 30).[1]


Researchers looking at the underlying fractal geometry of Pollock's work have estimated the fractal dimension of the drip patterns in Autumn Rhythm at 1.67.[11]

Further reading[edit]

The following have extended discussion of Autumn Rhythm.

  • Geldzahler, Henry (1965). American Painting in the Twentieth Century. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. OCLC 878548108.
  • Rubin, William (March 1967). "Jackson Pollock and the Modern Tradition, Part II". Artforum. 5 (7): 28–37. ISSN 0004-3532.
  • Johnson, Ellen H. (1995). "Jackson Pollock and Nature" in Modern Art and the Object: A Century of Changing Attitudes. New York: Icon Editions. ISBN 0064302261.
  • Varnedoe, Kirk, with Karmel, Pepe (1998). Jackson Pollock (exhibition catalogue). New York: Abrams. ISBN 9780810961937.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), 1950". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  2. ^ Perl, Jed. "Pollock Fever". The New Republic (November 30, 1998): 44. ISSN 0028-6583.
  3. ^ Naifeh, Steven; Smith, Gregory White (1989). Jackson Pollock: An American Saga. New York: Clarkson N Potter. pp. 616, 654–55. ISBN 9780517560846. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b O'Connor, Francis V. "Pollock, Jackson". Oxford Art Online. Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  5. ^ Naifeh, Steven; Smith, Gregory White (1989). Jackson Pollock: An American Saga. New York: Clarkson N. Potter. pp. 618–621. ISBN 9780517560846. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  6. ^ Bohm-Duchen, Monica (2001). The Private Life of a Masterpiece. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. p. 225. ISBN 9780520233782. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  7. ^ "15 Americans". The Museum of Modern Art.
  8. ^ Friedman, B. H. (1972). Jackson Pollock: Energy Made Visible (1st ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780070224216. OCLC 241037.
  9. ^ Clark, Timothy (1992). Guilbaut, Serge (ed.). "Jackson Pollock's Abstraction" in Reconstructing Modernism: Art in New York, Paris, and Montreal, 1945-1964. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. pp. 204, 207. ISBN 9780262071208.
  10. ^ Potter, Jeffrey (1987). To a Violent Grave: An Oral Biography of Jackson Pollock. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press. pp. 196–197. ISBN 9780916366476. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  11. ^ Casti, J.; Karlqvist, A. (2003-02-19). Art and Complexity. Elsevier. pp. 137–. ISBN 9780080527581. Retrieved 16 June 2014.