Christie’s has unveiled an abstract painting by Jackson Pollock showcasing the post-war painter’s ‘drip’ style which will go up for auction next month. Number 31 (1949) will go on sale at an evening sale in New York on May 12 dedicated to art produced in the 20th century. It is expected to fetch a price of over $45 million and will be offered without warranty.
Pollock completed the work, which measures 31 inches by 22 inches, in 1949, during a formative period in his career when he produced a series of drip paintings. The works would make him a standard-bearer for Abstract Expressionism and derive from a period that commands the artist’s highest auction prices.
The present lot was included in the Pollock retrospectives in 1967 and again in 1998 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Pollock’s last work of this caliber to be auctioned was Number 17 (1951), a black abstraction painted on beige canvas from the much-vaunted collection of real estate magnate Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife, Linda, following a controversial divorce trial. It hit a new record for the artist at $61.2 million when it first appeared at auction.
If the work presented reaches its high estimate, it will be among the four best works by the artist sold at auction.
This is not the first time that the work has appeared in a public sale. The work last appeared at auction over 30 years ago in May 1988 at Christie’s, where it sold for $3.5 million.
The painting will go on display at Christie’s Los Angeles outpost this week before returning to New York, where it will be displayed ahead of the May 12 sale.