A $10 Million Jackson Pollock Painting Was Discovered in the Most Random Place
An appraiser struck art market gold in Arizona
A potential long-lost Jackson Pollock painting, found in an Arizona garage, is expected to draw $10–$15 million at auction later this month. Scottsdale, AZ art appraiser Josh Levine has spent 18 months investigating the painting, and just yesterday, he told the Arizona Republic, "I'm brave enough to call it a Jackson Pollock and put my entire reputation on it."
Levine spent $50,000 substantiating the claim through forensic analysis and the help of a private investigator. The painting was found along with a trove of mid-20th century abstract artists associated with Clement Greenberg, including a Kenneth Noland piece that has already sold for $110,000. The art was left to its current owner, who has opted to remain anonymous, through the estate of his sister, friend to Peggy Guggenheim and art collector Jenifer Gordon.
Levine and the private investigator reviewed Guggenheim's letters, interviewed sources close to Greenberg, and otherwise researched Gordon's life to determine whether a Pollock could have wound up in Sun City. Meanwhile, forensic expert Peter Paul Biro determined the painting didn't contain any materials that would be anachronistic to Pollock's practice.
"The forensic report really just reaffirmed what I already believed to be true based on the provenance," Levine says. "I've spent hundreds of hours researching how this Pollock could end up here in Arizona, and I am confident that this is an original Pollock."
Independent of Levine, the Arizona Republic reached out to Australian artist and friend of Gordon Barbara McKay, who said, "I knew that Jenifer had a Pollock and, as confident as I could be, given that photographs are never as clear as seeing the painting in the flesh, that this is the original painting."
It's worth noting that the painting was unsigned, and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation refuses to authenticate it or any potential lost Pollocks. This is not uncommon—in 2011 the Warhol Authentication Board closed up shop after it racked up $7 million in legal fees.
The Pollock, listed on Levine's website as Untitled Gouache, was discovered when the Sun City homeowner hired the appraiser to examine a collection of 1990s Lakers memorabilia signed by Lebron James. "This piece was just leaning against a wall and we all thought, 'Wouldn't it be funny if it was a Jackson Pollock?'" Levine told local broadcasting station KTVK.
Online bidding for Untitled Gouache is already underway with a live auction scheduled for June 20. Find more information about the painting on Josh Levine's website.