Situated some four miles east northeast of Easthampton is a rural homestead where the entire art world was turned upside down from a short film made there in 1950. The artist studio of Jackson Pollock, now known as the Pollock Krasner studio remains startling original to the way it looked when Pollock became world famous in a Hans Namuth film as Jack the Dripper. He had been the subject of articles in LIFE Magazine in 1949, and a leading exponent of Abstract Expressionism when Namuth scheduled his visit a year later. The film shot on a concrete patio outside looking up through glass as Pollock applied his paint, captured the magic or painting as no film before or since. Pollock being Pollock inevitably name calling and temper tantrums ensued as the mercurial artist wearied of being followed around on camera. Tables were turned and glasses broken, even the painting done on camera was forgotten in an alcoholic haze when a few months later the work, No. 29, 1950 was brought in from the cold soaked by water and leaves attached. Today the work is on display at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottowa, Canada.
Pollock had just six more years to live after that film, and died on August 11, 1956 when he crashed his car into a telephone pole on Fireplace Springs Road headed back from Easthampton proper. a survivor of that crash Ruth Kligman wrote a book later on called, "Love Affair, A Memoir of Jackson Pollock," published in 1974. Much of the book would later be used in the Ed Harris film, Pollock (2000) shot on location in the house in Easthampton. The film was not huge at the box office, though it received critical praise, two Academy Award nominations, and one Oscar for Marcia Gay Hayden as Lee Krasner.
As the 2000 movie showed, not much has happened to the property since Pollock painted, and there in lies its charm. As the photos below show, one can easy walk right where Pollock worked his magic. A marvelous day trip in the summer
830 Springs-Fireplace Road
East Hampton, NY 11937-1512
Hans Namuth, recalled his famous visit of 1950 in ''Pollock Painting'' (1980)
'A dripping wet canvas covered the entire floor. Blinding shafts of sunlight hit the wet canvas, making its surface hard to see. There was complete silence.'' Namuth went on: ''Pollock looked at the painting. Then unexpectedly, he picked up can and paintbrush and started to move around the canvas. It was as if he suddenly realized the painting was not finished. His movements, slow at first, gradually became faster and more dancelike as he flung black, white and rust-colored paint onto the canvas.''
Jackson Pollock, "My Painting" The Possibilities, copyright Pollock Krasner Foundation
"My painting does not come from the easel. I hardly ever stretch my canvas before painting. I prefer to tack the unstretched canvas to the hard wall or the floor. I need the resistance of a hard surface. On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting. This is akin to the method of the Indian sand painters of the West... When I am in my painting, I'm not aware of what I'm doing. It is only after a sort of 'get acquainted' period that I see what I have been about."
Jackson Pollock by Hans Namuth, 1950
Pollock (2000) Trailer