This canvas is four feet tall, over six feet wide, and is blanketed with a tangle of symbols, fantastical creatures, curving lines, and abstract shapes. In the center of the painting is a horizontal rectangle that resembles a graffiti-covered wall. Thin, black, hieroglyphic squiggles seem to dance amidst smudges of yellow, blue, green and gray. Above the inner rectangle are small, semi-abstract creatures painted in black with yellow and white details. One looks like a vicious shrimp, and another resembles Pac Man with a puffy, gray wig. Beneath the rectangle, lying down at the bottom of the canvas, is a large doglike animal with pointed ears and a long snout. On the sides of the canvas are two highly-abstract totemic figures. The figure on our left features long curving lines of yellow and blue, and has a large fist near the top. The figure on our right resembles a tall bottle with a stubby neck. It has symbols painted down its left side, a tall, thin staff, and a crown, or cap, of golden yellow.
Jackson Pollock
Guardians of the Secret , 1943

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Guardians of the Secret
Artist name
Jackson Pollock
Date created
1943
Classification
painting
Medium
oil on canvas
Dimensions
48 3/8 in. x 75 3/8 in. (122.89 cm x 191.47 cm)
Date Acquired
1945
Credit
Collection SFMOMA
Albert M. Bender Collection, Albert M. Bender Bequest Fund purchase
Copyright
© Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Permanent URL
https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/45.1308
Artwork Status
On view on floor 2 as part of Open Ended: Painting and Sculpture, 1900 to Now.

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