A newly-discovered Jackson Pollock painting surfaced in Sun City, near Phoenix, after spending upwards of two decades in storage.
The painting was discovered roughly 18 months ago, but is only now being brought to auction.
Bidding for the painting will open on June 20, at J. Levine Auction in Phoenix.
The reason for the long delay? The auction house had their work cut out in confirming the painting’s illustrious origins.
The painting was originally owned by a woman named Jenifer Gordon, an enthusiastic art collector who lived in New York, and passed away in 1992.
Her art collection passed to her brother, who lived in Arizona, but it was apparently never appraised.
Instead, all of the paintings went into storage in a garage, where they stayed for the next two decades. It’s possible that no one realized that the collection was seriously valuable.
In fact, the auction house was only called in for appraisal because the garage also contained a signed 1992 LA Lakers poster.
Appraisers looking at the poster noticed the small, splattered canvas leaning against a wall.
According to AZ Family, the appraisers, including auction house owner Josh Levine, saw it and thought, “Wouldn’t it be funny if it was a Jackson Pollock?”
The idea stuck, and Levine quickly became dedicated to authenticating the painting.
Jackson Pollock, who passed away in 1956 at the age of 44, was a prolific artist who produced distinctive, splattered works.
Many of his most famous canvases, like the untitled work pictured above, feature the same kind of repetitive splatters and swirls, usually in a very limited palette.
However, because his painting style was so minimalistic, it can be hard to authenticate unsigned works.
While the unsigned and untitled painting in the Sun City garage certainly looked like a Pollock, Levine knew that he would have to work hard to determine the real story behind the painting.
According to a press release on the J. Levine website, “Levine hired a private investigative team and a forensic expert to help him put the pieces of the puzzle together.”
The press release further notes, “‘Based on their work and findings, I believe this painting was one of Pollock’s missing gouaches in his catalogue raisonné or from the period of 1945 to 1949,’ Levine said.”
A great deal of Levine’s research focused on Jenifer Gordon, also known by her married name, Jenifer Cosgriff.
Prior to her 1992 death at the age of 84, Cosgriff was a well-regarded art collector in New York City.
Her social circle brought her into contact with some of the most famous stars of the mid-century art scene.
It is very likely that she was well-acquainted with Pollock’s work, and it’s even possible that she knew the man himself.
Levine also gained clues about the paintings origins from the other works in the Sun City collection.
The Pollock wasn’t the only valuable painting discovered in the garage. There were a number of other pieces inside by mid-century contemporaries of Pollock, like Kenneth Noland and Hazel Guggenheim McKinley.
While the other artists in the collection aren’t household names, their works still boast impressive price tags.
Kenneth Noland’s “Replace!” sold for $110,000.
After spending 18 months and huge sums of money to authenticate the Jackson Pollock painting, J. Levine Auction is confident that the painting will more than pay for itself.
In fact, the auction house estimates that it is worth between $10 and $15 million.
It may sell for even more, depending on how things go at the June 20 auction!
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