Greece’s anti-organized crime task force found a lost painting possibly by the great American abstract expressionist artist Jackson Pollock during a raid on suspected art traffickers in Bulgaria. Last week, Bulgarian National Radio reported that Europol organized a joint operation between Greece and Bulgaria to investigate a group operating in both countries, carrying out the raid in question in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. Preliminary examinations suggest that the painting seized is an uncatalogued work created around 1949. The piece features an inscription on the back, dedicating the work to Lauren Bacall. Based on the inscription and the date, Pollock made the painting for the actress’s 25th birthday.
Though a prolific artist even in his own lifetime, Pollock’s catalogue is not as extensive as some of his contemporaries, mainly because he died in a car accident, at the age of forty-four, in 1956. The painting could be worth as much as €50 million ($53.9 million), which would make it one of the most valuable Pollock works in existence. Pollock’s auction record was set in 2021 when Number 17 sold at Sotheby’s New York for $53 million ($61M w/p) during the Macklowe Collection sales. Authorities carried out several other raids against the group in Athens and on Crete, confiscating several other works. Authorities have not released an image of the work or details of the other seized paintings. The suspected Pollock is now at Sofia’s National Art Gallery, where specialists will continue to uncover more information.