What does Kobe Bryant have to do with the possible discovery of a "lost" Jackson Pollock painting? Something, it turns out. An Arizona auction house says it was contacted by a Sun City resident who wanted someone to take a look at a 1992 LA Lakers poster signed by Bryant. "We ended up signing a contract to auction the contents of the estate, and that's when we found many of the paintings," among them one that Josh Levine of J. Levine Auction & Appraisal believed to be a Pollock. The Arizona Republic reports Levine was so intrigued by the potential Pollock that he spent more than $50,000 over 18 months in an attempt to establish it was done by the artist's hand. "I'm brave enough to call it a Jackson Pollock and put my entire reputation on it," he says.
Still, Levine acknowledges potential Pollocks have long been a source of art-world consternation; the Pollock-Krasner Foundation does not authenticate Pollock paintings. But in a press release, the auction house describes the painting's provenance as "strong": The man who owned it—he had never heard of Pollock—was given the gouache painting by his half-sister, who was a longtime friend of an art critic who knew Pollock. The auction house further explains forensic tests established "the dating of the painting to the mid-twentieth century ... as no pigments or binding media introduced in the late 1950s and 1960s have been detected." The work, which measures 22.5 x 32 inches, will be auctioned June 20; Levine expects it will fetch $10 million to $15 million. (A painting made by a 21-year-old in 1982 recently sold for $110 million.)