A painting by the world-famous American artist Jackson Pollock was discovered in Sofia during a special operation of the Main Directorate “Fighting Organized Crime” at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria in cooperation with Europol. The work is estimated at 50 million euros, reported the Bulgarian National Radio. Actions against the trafficking of cultural objects were held both in Athens and on the island of Crete. Several people were detained – one Bulgarian and three Greek citizens.
For Bulgaria ON AIR, Europol confirmed that an investigation is underway against an organized group against the trafficking of cultural objects. The name of the artist is visible in the lower right corner of the open painting.
The Jackson Pollock painting has been handed over to the National Gallery of Art, but they declined to comment as it is under investigation.
The Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office carries out the management and supervision of the investigation with the discovered work.
“The painting is kept under appropriate conditions and with the necessary security. An expert opinion on the authenticity and identification of the painting has been appointed in the case,” said the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office.
The pre-trial proceedings were started as a matter of urgency on 18.02.2023 by the Main Directorate “Fighting Organized Crime” with the drawing up of the protocol for the first action of the investigation and were initially conducted under the direction and supervision of the Sofia District Prosecutor’s Office for material concealment – a crime under Art. 215 of the Criminal Code.
After an investigation with a decree of a prosecutor in the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office dated 21.03.2023, the case was sent to the Sofia District Prosecutor’s Office and was immediately accepted by a prosecutor from the Sofia District Prosecutor’s Office.
The pre-trial proceedings will continue to be conducted for a crime under Art. 278a of the Criminal Code, and in the course of it, it will be determined whether the painting is a cultural asset that has not been identified and registered, and whether it is offered for alienation or has been alienated.
During the course of the investigation, a painting believed to be the work of American artist Jackson Pollock was entered into physical evidence in the case.
The picture is stored under suitable conditions and with the necessary security.
An expert opinion on the authenticity and identification of the painting has been assigned to the case. According to the conclusion, expert examination shows that the painting could be authentic, but further research is needed.
The work is believed to be from 1949, and its price could reach up to 50 million euros at an auction house.
The painter Pravdolyub Ivanov says that Jackson Pollock is one of the brightest artists of modern art. Although he died too young – only 44 years old, he left a bright mark in art.
“I guess it’s from his early period, which is filled with incredible energy. Such an energy emanates from them that you just know that this man is a really great artist. Then Abstract Expressionism comes in, and with him it’s about something, which eliminates a thousand-year-old tradition in art – that the artist always touches the material with the tool. At one point, he tears this thing off and starts pouring the paint,” commented Pravdolyub Ivanov.
Pollock is at the core of the abstract expressionism movement and is one of those artists who influence people and give them freedom by looking at the works.
“A generation that is before and a little after the war, one of the brightest representatives of the first movement that America creates – abstract expressionism. For 100 years America is secondary to European art – copying, trying to catch up, and around the war and after war appears this boom of something that is not there,” Ivanov said.
During a parallel operation by the Greek police on the island of Crete and in Athens, five other works by famous authors were seized.