According to Pollock's wife Krasner, Pollock started There Were Seven in Eight in the fall of 1943, abandoned it for a while, and then returned to it after many months had passed.
As Krasner remembered it, Pollock began this composition with "more or less recognizable imagery - heads, parts of the body, fantastic creatures," but these arc no longer obvioius. Apparently she later inquired why he had not stopped when these images were "exposed"; "I choose to veil the imagery," was his reply.
This story was first recounted by Krasner in a 1969 interview with B. H. Friedman, creating a storm of controversy. Others close to Pollock have surmised that the "elegant" wording of this phrase was perhaps not Pollock's. Furthermore, at the time of the Friedman interview, Krasner did not identify There Were Seven in Eight as the specific painting in Pollock's description; she only did so a number of years later in response to a request for clarification from William Rubin. In 1969 she actually stated that "many of the most abstract" of Pollock's works began with "recognizable" images, and this has led to the frequent and erroneous supposition on the part of some writers that an underlayer of realistic depictions is present in even the most radical of Pollock's later poured paintings.
Jackson Pollock's own equivocal statement, "I'm very representational some of the time, and a little all of the time," has further confused this issue.
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