Jackson Pollock, “The Key”, Oil on Linen, 1946, 150 x 208 cm., Art Institute of Chicago
“The Key” belongs to Jackson Pollock’s ‘Accabonac Creek’ series, named for a stream near the East Hampton property that he and his wife, the painter Lee Krasner, purchased in late 1945. Marking a crucial moment in his evolution as an artist, this quasi-Surrealist painting was created on the floor of an upstairs bedroom and worked on directly from all sides.
Although there is a general suggestion of landscape, here the process of painting became primary, expressing the power of spontaneous action and chance effects. The resulting abstraction, with its expressive, gestural appearance, prefigured the all-over compositions of Pollock’s celebrated drip paintings, which debuted the following year.