This week, Christies sold the painting Red Composition, 1946, by Jackson Pollock at its highly anticipated 20th Century Evening Sale in New York. Bidding started at $9 million at the marquee event, and the work sold to an anonymous bidder for the hammer price of $12 million.
The work, offered for auction to Christies by the Everson Museum of Art
, was donated to the Everson in 1991. The work was originally purchased by Marshall and Dorothy Reisman in 1958 for $3,500. The work was donated to the Museum at a value of $800,000. In addition to Red Composition, 1946, the Reismans also donated an untitled ink on paper work by Pollock to the Everson in 1997; the drawing is currently on view at the Museum in the exhibition, A Legacy of Firsts.
The Christies sale also included masterworks by fellow Abstract Expressionists Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko and a watercolor by Paul Cezanne, Property from the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House.
Proceeds from the sale of the Pollock will be dedicated to refining and diversifying the Everson Museums collection to focus on works by artists of color, women artists, and other under-represented, emerging and mid-career artists. A fund will be established for these specific purchases, while an additional portion of the funds will also be used for the direct care of the Eversons collection of more than 10,000 pieces. These allocations are consistent with guidelines established by the American Alliance of Museums and the Regents of the State of New York.
We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the sale and look forward to all the ways that this will allow us to fervently pursue our mission, said Everson Director Elizabeth Dunbar.
Several conservation measures will also be undertaken, including the restoration of the iconic Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 3 by Henry Moore, which has graced the Museums front podium since opening in 1968. The Everson will also improve its on-site storage, enabling more of the collection to be housed at the Museum and available for scholarly study and public viewing.