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Abstract 1940s Jackson Pollock painting could sell for $45 million at auction


Planned for May, the auction house Christie’s will be holding a 20th Century Evening Sale at Rockefeller Plaza, where there will be a number of works from the 20th century up for auction. The primary star of the evening, however, will likely be Jackson Pollock’s Number 31 painting, which is an abstract “drip” painting that’s estimated to sell for upwards of US $45 million on the evening in question.

According to Christie’s, the painting has been featured in a number of seminal exhibitions, including the 1967 Jackson Pollock MoMA retrospective, as well as the later 1998 retrospective at MoMA and The Tate.

The painting was completed in 1949 and was first exhibited by Pollock’s dealer Betty Parsons. Many critics consider this painting to be one of his very best pieces. 

Alex Rotter, Christie’s Chairman of 20th and 21st Century Art said of the painting, “In the late 1940s, Pollock’s drip paintings categorically redefined how we understand art. This moment saw the art world’s centre of gravity shift for the first time away from the museums and galleries of Paris and into the streets of New York.”

He continued, “True drip paintings were—and still are—the ultimate in mid-century American avant-garde, and are rare to come across in the secondary market. Number 31 is a superb example. … It stands as a brilliant demonstration of Pollock’s rigour and effusiveness.”

The painting is currently on display in Los Angeles, where the work will stay until it’s transferred to New York City in time for the sale on May 12th, 2022, where it remains to be seen exactly how much we can expect the work to sell for. Regardless, estimates are high. It currently resides at the Cristie’s location in Los Angeles, California.