Jackson Pollock’s Drip Painting Could Raise $45 Million at Auction – Robb Report

Christie’s has unveiled an abstract painting by Jackson Pollock featuring the post-war painter’s signature ‘drip’ style up for auction next month. Number 31 (1949) hits the block at a May 12 New York night sale devoted to art produced in the 20th century. It is expected to cost more than $45 million and will be offered without warranty.

Pollock completed the work, which is 31 by 22 inches, in 1949, during a formative period in his career when he produced a series of drop paintings. The works are said to make him a standard-bearer of abstract expressionism and date from a period that commanded the artist’s highest auction prices.

The current lot was included in retrospectives devoted to Pollock in 1967 and again in 1998, both at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Pollock’s last work of this caliber to be sold at auction was Number 17 (1951), a black abstraction painted over a light brown canvas that came from the vaunted collection of real estate magnate Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife Linda, after a contentious divorce lawsuit. It set a new record for the artist at $61.2 million on its first appearance at auction.

If the current work achieves its high rating, it will be among the top four works by the artist to be sold at auction.

It is not the first time the work has appeared in a public sale. The work last appeared at auction more than 30 years ago in May 1988 at Christie’s, where it sold for $3.5 million.

The painting will be on display at Christie’s outpost in Los Angeles this week before returning to New York where it will be on display ahead of sale on May 12.

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