Photograph © 1999, Estate of Hans Namuth
Action Painting, a term coined in 1952 by New York art critic Harold Rosenberg,
refers to a gestural method of painting epitomized by the work of Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and Willem de Kooning.
The drips and splatters that characterize action painting reveal the artist's process of creation, which in
Rosenberg's view was as important as the finished product. Pollock's style of painting differed markedly from that of
the other action painters in that he placed his large canvases on the floor rather than working on an easel. This
shift in the physical relationship of the artist to his canvas allowed him to develop a full-body gestural technique incorporating rhythmic movements that resembled dance
and a snap-the-whip type wrist action that facilitated his exquisite control of the paint.