Small but intense, Pollock ‘drip’ is expected to sell for more than $45 million at Christie’s

ART & the Art World (theartwolf)
2 min readApr 19, 2022
Small but intense, Pollock ‘drip’ is expected to sell for more than $45 million at Christie’s

Small but intense, Pollock ‘drip’ is expected to sell for more than $45 million at Christie’s

Jackson Pollock — Number-31–1949

On May 12, 2022, Christie’s will auction in New York “Number 31,” painted by Jackson Pollock in 1949, during the height of his “drip” period.

By G. Fernandez — theartwolf.com — Image: Jackson Pollock, “Number 31,” 1949. Oil, enamel, aluminum paint and gesso on paper mounted on Masonite, 31 x 22 ½ in. (78.7 x 57.2 cm.) © Jackson Pollock / Artists Rights Society, New York

Despite its modest size, “Number 31” has virtually everything you could ask of a Pollock.

Painted in 1949, in the midst of a lustrum of creativity during which Pollock was, in the words of Pierre Restany, “like a meteor from which all kept a respectful distance,” “Number 31” is an intense drip that has remained in the same private collection for more than twenty years, and now comes up for auction with a pre-sale estimate “in excess of $45 million,” according to Christie’s.

It seems far from a too optimistic estimate when compared to recent sales of other works by Pollock, most notably “Number 17, 1951,” a larger but far less intense and inspired work, sold last year at the already legendary Macklowe auction for $61.2 million, setting an auction record for Pollock, an artist whose works have reached $200 million in private transactions.

In style, scale and importance, “Number 31” is comparable to “Number 16, 1949,” another Pollock painting of similar chromatic scale and nearly identical dimensions, and auctioned by Christie’s in 2013 for $32.6 million (just over $40 million at today’s exchange rate)

“Number 31” joins a series of “blockbuster” sales announced by Christie’s for the next May season, including, of course, Warhol’s “Shot” Marilyn, which could become the most expensive modern painting ever auctioned, and the Anne H. Bass collection, which includes two paintings by Rothko expected to auction for more than $50 million each. #2022 #ArtMarket #JacksonPollock #theartwolf

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ART & the Art World (theartwolf)

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