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Number 3, 1950

Jackson Pollock, American, 1912–1956
Oil, enamel, and aluminum paint on fiberboard
Made in
Springs, New York, United States, North and Central America
Current Location
On View, Gallery 258
48 x 96 1/8 in. (121.9 x 244.2 cm)
framed: 49 x 97 1/4 in. (124.5 x 247 cm)
Credit Line
Partial and promised gift of Emily Rauh Pulitzer in honor of Joseph Pulitzer Jr.
© The Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY
Object Number
In "Number 3," Jackson Pollock layered multiple strands of paint to create an intricate web of interwoven colors. The result is an “all over” composition that prevents the eye from focusing on any single point. Three years earlier, Pollock first began to drip and splatter paint across unstretched canvas or fiberboard laid flat on his studio floor. Pollock’s creative breakthrough overturned the tradition of upright easel painting, a convention that had remained firmly established for five centuries.
c.1955 - 1959
Mr. and Mrs. Leo Castelli, New York, NY, purchased from the artist [1]

1959 - 1972
Jacques Ullman, Paris, France, purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Leo Castelli [2]

Stephen Hahn Gallery and E. V. Thaw & Co., New York, NY (owned jointly), purchased from the Estate of Jacques Ullman

1972 -
Joseph Pulitzer Jr. (1913-1993) and Emily Rauh Pulitzer (b.1933), St. Louis, MO, purchased from E. V. Thaw & Co.

2001 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, partial and promised gift of Emily Rauh Pulitzer [3]

The main source for this provenance is the 1988 catalogue of the Pulitzer collection [Rudenstine, Angelica Zander. "Modern Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture Collected by Emily and Joseph Pulitzer Jr." Cambridge: Harvard University Art Museums, vol. 4, 1988, cat. 292]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] Leo Castelli purchased the painting sometime after a 1955 show at Sidney Janis Gallery. According to Sidney Janis Gallery records, Janis had the work on consignment from Pollock at the time of the May 1955 show, but returned it to the artist unsold. In a letter to Joseph Pulitzer dated June 2, 1977, Ben Heller stated that he purchased the work jointly with Castelli after the Sidney Janis exhibition, but that Heller later sold his share to Castelli to buy a different Pollock painting. However, in a March 1987 conversation, Castelli denied ever owning the painting jointly with Heller [Karmel, Varnedoe. "Jackson Pollock." Museum of Modern Art, NY, 1998; Pulitzer catalogue p.827 n.2]. The painting was included in a May 1958 exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery ["Gorky, Matta, de Kooning, Pollock". Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, 1958].

[2] Purchased by Ullman in February 1959. Stephen Hahn claimed he had the picture on consignment from Castelli and sold it to Ullman, however, Castelli's records include no reference to Hahn.

[3] Deed of Partial Gift dated February 7, 2001 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Collections Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, March 1, 2001.
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