Authorities in Bulgaria discovered a hitherto-unknown painting by Jackson Pollock in the course of investigating an international art-trafficking ring. According to Bulgarian National Radio, which broke the story, Bulgarian Main Directorate officials were working with a Greek anti-crime unit organized under the Europol umbrella to break up the illegal business, which spanned from the Sofia region of Bulgaria to Athens and the island of Crete.
While in the process of arresting three Greek citizens and a Bulgarian national in connection with the operation, Greek officials discovered five works by famous artists, while the Bulgarian team found an unfamiliar canvas bearing Jackson’s faint signature on its front.
Bulgarian news site Novinite.com reported that the authorities handed the painting off to experts from Bulgaria’s National Art Gallery, who have since acknowledged that the work, which dates to 1949, is an uncatalogued original by the Abstract Expressionist giant. The painting is estimated to be worth up to €50 million ($54 million) at auction. No further details have yet been released regarding its description.
Pollock gained renown for his so-called drip paintings, which stood apart from the more geometric work of his compatriots. The artist died in a car accident in 1956 at the age of forty-four, leaving behind a limited body of work.
Petar Todorov, Bulgaria’s chief secretary of the ministry of internal affairs, expressed delight over the find. “To our great joy,” he told Novinite.com, “we managed to establish and keep this painting and at the moment the expertise shows that it is an original.”