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Jackson Pollock’s masterpiece Blue Poles 1952 is an Australian icon and a key part of the country’s history. Its controversial purchase by the National Gallery in 1973 signalled to some Australia’s economic and cultural dependence on the United States of America, while for others it showed that Australia was renegotiating its traditional ties and allegiances.

This website brings together a selection of Pollock’s works, situating Blue Poles in the broader development of the artist’s career. Featuring paintings, drawings and prints from 1933 to 1952, it shows Pollock’s interest in Mexican mural painting, European Surrealism, and indigenous American art.

Essays look at the artist’s life and work, the first exhibition of Blue Poles in New York in 1952, and later reception in the United States and Australia from the 1970s to the present.

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The National Gallery of Australia acknowledges the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, the traditional custodians of the Canberra region, and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and country.