Can You Spot Jackson Pollock’s Name?

Jackson Pollock, Mural, 1943 (University of Iowa Museum of Art)

My aunt just forwarded me this intriguing article from the most recent edition of The writer of the article argues that Jackson Pollock hid the letters of his name among the swirls of his painting Mural (shown above). If you can’t see these letters right-off-the-bat (I certainly couldn’t), click here to see the Smithsonian interactive site.

What do you think about this? Do you buy it? Can you see the letters? I’m kind of on-the-fence about it. I think it’s possible that Pollock might have included his name – I can see the “P” and “O” of his last name very distinctly. At the same time, though, I think that if a person stares at this painting long enough, they can see tons of other letters. I’ve been looking at this painting for a while, and (with the help of my imagination?) I can see a capital “A” in the lower right corner and a cursive, capital “T” in the upper right corner. So, I don’t know if I’m completely sold on the idea. Nonetheless, it’s fun to think about.

Do you spot anything else? If anyone can help me find a portrait of Clement Greenberg hidden in this painting, I’ll give you five bucks. And then we can co-write a new article for Smithsonian.

  • GermyB says:

    Not buying it. At all. I think you could find anything you wanted in this painting. It doesn't seem likely to me that Pollock would do something as trite as hiding his name in his work.

  • heidenkind says:


    Ummm, pretty weak. I don't know where the author is getting the idea for some of those letters, but it's a stretch. I did see a B near the bottom edge of the painting, and an M near that. But come one. Everyone knows Pollock's paintings had some sort of structure to them, but I seriously doubt he would be that literal with his work. I am, however, down with trying to find Greenberg's bald little head in the painting. 😉

  • e says:

    I suppose, in theory, it could be possible. But, my opinion? Um, nope. Those are some pretty weak and craptapular letters. I don't think he hid his name in that mural at all.

    Sigh, the things some people will grasp at as to convince themselves they've uncovered something big.

  • e says:

    Maybe if you go cross-eyed it will appear, like with those magic eye pictures. I never could see those.

  • Arthur says:

    Hmm. its possible, but I've also read other theories of hidden writing in this painting that suggest another interpretation:

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This blog focuses on making Western art history accessible and interesting to all types of audiences: art historians, students, and anyone else who is curious about art. Alberti’s Window is maintained by Monica Bowen, an art historian and professor.