Secretive Manhattan cult is blamed for iconic artist Jackson Pollock’s death by encouraging alcoholic painter to drink and cheat on his wife with beautiful muse who survived drunken crash that killed art star

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Famed modern artist Jackson Pollock’s car crash death has been blamed on a New York cult that encouraged the alcoholic painter to hit the bottle and cheat on his wife.

The cult, also known as the Sullivanians, advocated alcohol use and sexual freedom to resolve psychological issues.

Pollock, a lifelong alcoholic, infamously died after driving and crashing his car while drunk in August 1956.  He had been sober for years, but fell off the wagon after a series of bad reviews.

The painter was encouraged to seek therapy from the Upper West Side-based Sullivanians – who told him to keep on drinking, instead of encouraging him to sober up.

His introduction to the cult by friend and fellow alcoholic Clement Greenberg has been described as a turning point in the artist’s demise in a new book ‘The Sullivanians: Sex, Psychotherapy, and the Wild Life of an American Commune’ by Alexander Stille.

The Sullivanians was led by married psychotherapists Saul Newton and Jane Pearce, and attracted free-thinking artists such as Pollock and Judy Collins.

Members of the Sullivanians also performed as part of a theater company called The Fourth Wall. They're pictured here putting on a performance in an undated photograph

According to author Alexander Stille, the Sullivan Institute encouraged their patients to leave their spouses, have affairs and hand over the care of their children to others.

In 1954, Jackson Pollock, a lifelong alcoholic was in a period of deep crisis after a bad review of his art by the critic Clement Greenberg.

He began drinking again after several years of sobriety and became violent and abusive towards his wife, the painter Lee Krasner, Stille wrote.

Greenberg, also a friend of Pollock and his wife, told Krasner to see an analyst and recommended Jane Pearce who ran the Sullivanian cult.

‘Clem pushed her to do this because he saw that Jackson was killing her,’ Pearce later said in an interview.

‘Or allowing her to kill herself. It was a moment of absolute crisis’ she recalled.

Krasner and Pollock began attending therapy with Ralph Klein who was entwined with the cult and was staying with its leaders Newton and Pierce.

Greenberg and Pollock, both alcoholics, were encouraged to drink to relieve anxiety and unleash creativity by Pierce, who was also a serious alcoholic.

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