Scientific Correspondence

Nature 399, 422 (3 June 1999) | doi:10.1038/20833

Fractal analysis of Pollock's drip paintings

Richard P. Taylor, Adam P. Micolich & David Jonas

Scientific objectivity proves to be an essential tool for determining the fundamental content of the abstract paintings produced by Jackson Pollock in the late 1940s. Pollock dripped paint from a can onto vast canvases rolled out across the floor of his barn. Although this unorthodox technique has been recognized as a crucial advancement in the evolution of modern art, the precise quality and significance of the patterns created are controversial. Here we describe an analysis of Pollock's patterns which shows, first, that they are fractal1, reflecting the fingerprint of nature, and, second, that the fractal dimensions increased during Pollock's career.

  1. School of Physics, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia
    e-mail: Email: rpt@newt.phys.unsw.edu.au