In later years Pollock would develop his technique of applying paint to canvas by dripping or even pouring it onto the medium, but Birth predates that style by several years.
A bold palette of strong colour depicts the process of birth itself, and the imagery is derived from primitive Native American and Inuit painting. Pollock was heavily influenced by such primitive imagery and the psychoanalytical works of Carl Jung, a former student of Freud’s, helped to interpret and unify such imagery.
Executed in oil on canvas Birth was one of a number of works reserved by the artist to his own possession and it can therefore be assumed that it was of considerable significance to him.
The bold colours of reds, blues, and the use of white to depict dramatic expressions on the faces it depicts are of considerable dramatic impact.
At the time of its execution Birth was painted by a Jackson Pollack still experimenting with style and influences. The style is clearly Abstract and evokes the spirits of Picasso and Miro.
But the forms are not clearly defined, and the loss of such definition until there are no clear delineations in the outlines of figures portrayed would be a feature of the artist’s later work through to his death.
It is possible to make out two parts of the human body depicted clearly in the work: an up stretched arm and a leg bent at the knee, but other parts are blended into the general overall form.
Birth stayed in the personal collection of Jackson Pollack and after his death in 1956 his widow until the Tate Gallery acquired the work, together with two other examples, in 1985.