Watch This: Jackson Pollock’s Mural: The Story of a Modern Masterpiece

I love art history, and, over the years, have particularly enjoyed learning about mid-century, modern artists. I’ve read biographies on Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and others. The art world of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s was alive with experimentation, and the public and culture at large was paying attention to art in an unprecedented way. Artists were receiving media coverage on par with actors and musicians.

I recently watched a brief PBS documentary on a Jackson Pollock mural commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim. The hour-long piece includes interviews with a variety of art historians, shows the restoration of the piece, and explores what was going on during the period when the piece was created.

Thanks to Dave Newman for recommending the documentary!

You can watch the documentary here.

What do you Think?

Did you enjoy the documentary? How do you feel about mid-century modern art? Share your thoughts and comments below!

About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.


  1. I knew very little about the history but this in-depth look into this painting was fascinating. I thought that it was lyrical. When I heard what he said inspired it at the end I could see it but I still liked the way I saw it in the first place

  2. I’m from Iowa and I saw this painting at the Figge Museum!! It was overwhelming to see the scope and all the imaging that was in the work plus the color. Thanks for sharing this Jason.

  3. I live in Iowa City and they are getting ready to reopen the Museum of Art at the University of Iowa that hosts the painting. There was information roaming about that they discovered it had been hanging upside down during it’s previous installation at the museum of art before the flood of 2008.

    “The first painting to leave was “Mural,” which took eight to 10 people to carry, Fisher said, due to its size, weight and $140 million value. Like many of the paintings, it was crated, put into a truck and taken to Chicago. Like most of the museum’s art, “Mural” has not returned to Iowa City since.”

    1. Well – the suggestion it was hung upside down speaks volumes to me.
      We can call anything ‘Art’ or indeed a ‘Masterpiece’ – but it seems only the price tag makes it so.
      I hope he got a few bottles out of it….

  4. After reading your words and watching the documentary, Jason, I have a renewed appreciation for Jackson Pollock. Initial reaction to the painting for me rang as dancers, and I thought how enchanting that the young girl “got it.” Then when the idea of horses stampeding popped up, I could definitely see that and the frenetic energy in the painting.

    Although my art has evolved into abstract expressionism. Pollock often makes me uncomfortable. In this case, not at all, and the educational journey was fascinating! Thank you!

  5. Of note is that Max Ernst work on a painting called: ‘Young Man Intrigued by the Flight of a Non-Euclidean Fly.” It was the first painting of note to be a ‘drip painting.’ It is noted in Ernst’s biography “…it’s true that many New York painters adopted theis technique, which they called ‘dripping’, and made abundant use of it. Especially Jockson Pollack, whom his friends nicknamed ‘Jack the Dripper’.

  6. Thank you for sharing the video with us. Very educational! I new little about the history of the mural. It is always very interesting for me to see the path that a painting takes and the “behind the scene” of preparing the piece to be shown, transporting it, the cleaning part- with a tooth pick!!, all the people involved in the process.

  7. I loved this documentary. I myself paint abstract expressionism so the mid century artists are like gurus in some fashion to me. The idea of freedom being the underlying inspiration for creating this style of work is the exact reason for why I switched from painting realism, it was my own sense of liberation and freedom.

  8. Great documentary! Thanks for sharing it. I knew little about this mural. Now that I learned more by watching this video and felt mobilized internally when looking at it, I want to see it at naked eye.

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