A drip painting by Jackson Pollock was unveiled by Christie’s and expected to fetch upwards of $45 million at the auction next month.
Titled Number 31(1949), the work was made by Jackson Pollock during a crucial time in his career when he dabbled with drip paintings. The 31×22 inch painting and other works like it made Pollock a torchbearer of abstract art in the decades to come. It is for this reason by drip paintings by him fetch top prices at auctions.
The painting appeared prominently in two retrospectives dedicated to the artist’s career – in 1967 and in 1998 – both times at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. However, the painting has not changed hands frequently. This is the first time it will go on the auction block since May 1988. At this last auction at Christie’s, the work fetched $3.5 million.
The painting is considered the most prominent Jackson Pollock painting hitting the auction block since Number 17(1951). The painting came from the art collection of real estate icon Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife Linda after a high-profile and controversial divorce trial. Appearing for auction for the first time, the work fetched an impressive $61.2 million.
If Number 31 got sold for its pre-sale estimate, it will rank it as the 4th most expensive Jackson Pollock work. The painting will be displayed at Christie’s Los Angeles this week, before the scheduled evening sale on May 12.