Paris, April 21, 2022 – Jackson Pollock’s explosive paintings have long been sought after by art collectors.
This trend has only increased in recent years, as evidenced by the arrival on the market of “Number 31.” This painting will be auctioned in May at Christie’s.
“Number 31” was created in 1949, a few years after Jackson Pollock began action painting.
At the time, he was no longer using brushes to make these paintings, instead projecting the paint randomly onto large surfaces in a technique known as drip painting.
Jackson Pollock created only 13 such works on paper in 1949, and only eight of them featured the shiny metallic paint used in “Number 31.”
“With his revolutionary new technique, Pollock effectively upended the existing framework of traditional painting practices.
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,” said Alex Rotter, Christie’s Chairman of 20th and 21st Century Art.
“‘Number 31’ is a superb example. It is a fantastic, frenetic combination of rich hues-straight from the paint can. It stands as a brilliant demonstration of Pollock’s rigor and effusiveness.”
The auction house estimates that “Number 31” could fetch more than $45 million when the painting goes under the hammer on May 12 during its upcoming New York evening sale of 20th century art.
It could become one of Jackson Pollock’s most expensive paintings, having remained in the same private collection for more than two decades.
However, this is not the first time “Number 31” has appeared on the market. It was sold for US$3.5 million in 1998 at Christie’s, according to the Artnet Price Database.
This painting could now be sold for 13 times that amount, while potentially setting a new sales record for Jackson Pollock.
To do so, it will have to exceed the US$61 million fetched by “Number 17” last November at Sotheby’s, during the first part of the Macklowe sale. This amount proved well above its initial estimate of US$35 million.
Other Jackson Pollock creations have reached auction heights in the last 10 years.
Among them, “#31” and “Number 19” sold for US$55 million and US$58 million respectively.
Some of the American expressionist painter’s pieces have been known to change hands for even higher sums in private transactions. – AP