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Greyed Rainbow

Abstract painting, black background covered with flicks and smudges of white and other colors.
© 2018 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • Abstract painting, black background covered with flicks and smudges of white and other colors.




Jackson Pollock
American, 1912–1956

About this artwork

In the late 1940s Jackson Pollock developed a revolutionary form of Abstract Expressionism by dripping, pouring, and splashing paint onto large-scale canvases. Pollock emphasized the expressive power of the artist’s gestures, materials, and tools, often applying paint with sticks, trowels, and palette knives instead of brushes. He also challenged the concept of easel painting by working on canvases placed either on the floor or fixed to a wall. With no apparent beginning or end, top or bottom, his paintings imply an extension of his art beyond the edges of the canvas, engulfing the viewer. Among the last great purely abstract paintings Pollock made before his untimely death in 1956, Greyed Rainbow is a quintessential example of action painting. The paint application ranges from thick chunks squeezed directly from a tube to thin, meandering lines poured from a container with a small hole or squirted from a baster. The work is predominantly black, white, gray, and silver; in the bottom third of the canvas, however, Pollock thinly concealed orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The title of the work presumably refers to these grayed sections of hidden color.


On View, Gallery 291


Contemporary Art


Jackson Pollock


Greyed Rainbow


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on linen


Signed and dated: recto: "Jackson Pollock 53" (bottom right in black paint); verso: "Jackson Pollock / 53" (upper left in black paint)


Unframed: 182.9 × 244.2 cm (72 1/16 × 96 3/16 in.); 182.9 × 244.2 cm (72 × 96 1/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Society for Contemporary American Art

Reference Number



© 2018 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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