Etching and drypoint on white wove Italia paper, 1944-45. 302x230 mm; 11 7/8x9 inches, full margins. Numbered 31/50 in pencil, lower right. Printed by Emiliano Sorini, New York, with the blind stamp lower left, in 1967. Published by the Pollock Estate, with the blind stamp lower left. A superb impression of this extremely scarce, important etching.
Following is an account written by the printmaker Gabor Peterdi, who was entrusted with printing Pollock's surviving intaglio plates, "Shortly after Pollock's death, during the time when the MoMA was organizing the Pollock retropspective, I received a call from William Lieberman. He told me, they had discovered in Pollock's estate four plates in rather neglected condition--corroded, dirty, etc.--and they wanted to find out if they could be salvaged. Lieberman asked me whether I were willing to undertake this job. As Lieberman and I had a longstanding professional association, and as I also felt strongly that Pollock's work should be saved if possible, I consented to try.
The four plates were in terrible condition, full of corrosion, with most of the drypoint flattened out. Further, the four plates contained six images, as two of the plates had images on both sides. This would create additional problems with printing. I cleaned the plates and reworked the drypoint on all six images. As I knew Pollock personally and worked together with him at Hayter's Atelier 17, I knew very well his own way of working so the restoration was no problem.
Then I printed up some proofs (before steelfacing) of all the images and gave one set to the MoMA. At this time, I advised the museum that, after steelfacing, four of the images were sound enough to be printed in editions. The other two were weak, underetched images with too much corrosion. So, you could say it was I who decided which images to print, based entirely on what was feasible. All this (cleaning, restoration, printing of proofs) was done by me in my studio in Rowayton, Connecticut.
I also recommended [Emiliano] Sorini to do the printing of the editions. Sorini had printed some of my own plates for me and, at that time, was teaching under my supervision in the Yale University printmaking workshop. Sorini made the prints in his own studio. I do not know who did the steelfacing. I had nothing to do with the choice of paper," (Gabor Peterdi, letter written March 13, 1987).
Pollock's (1912-1956) New York apartment was located opposite of Atelier 17 and was frequented by other Abstract Expressionists such as William Baziotes and Robert Motherwell. It was here that Hayter instructed Pollock in the technique of drypoint and etching in the autumn of 1944. (Emmerling, Jackson Pollock: 1912-1952, p. 60). Pollock tested his method of building up an image with interlocking lines and brushstrokes, for which he would become famous, through his experimentation with etching. He reworked many of his etchings with ink and gouache; and in many cases, professionally printed impressions of his plates were not taken until after his death. O'Connor/Thaw 1081.