Nov 11, 2021

Myth of the Western Man (Head)

Myth of the Western Man (Head)


Part of a set. See all set records

Robert Arneson

(American, 1930–1992)


Overall: 221.6 x 161.3 x 150.5 cm (87 1/4 x 63 1/2 x 59 1/4 in.); Head: 51.4 cm (20 1/4 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1987.55.a



Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), the famous Abstract Expressionist painter, is the subject of Robert Arneson's Myth of the Western Man. This work is the largest of a series of 50 sculpted portraits, begun in 1982, in which Arneson explored the complexities of the life, death, art, and myth of Pollock, who died in an automobile accident in 1956. The piece is also part of a larger body of work that pays tribute to artists Arneson admired. Compelling and expressive, the huge portrait depicts Pollock with an unwavering stare that confronts the viewer. Cracks running throughout the ceramic head recall the random, all-over patterns characteristic of Pollock's "drip" compositions, in which he poured and splattered paint directly onto a canvas laid on the floor. Arneson's monumental sculpture sits atop a carved redwood pedestal and a painted platform that is littered with ceramic cigarette butts and bits of paper and paint—all meant to simulate the floor of Pollock's studio.

See also
CONTEMP - Sculpture
Contemporary Art
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email [email protected].

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.