« Nuke hostel: Have a stay at Chernobyl | Main | Former boutique owner donates wedding dresses to flooded bridal store »

Painting found in Arizona garage may be a Jackson Pollock worth $15 million

ABC News(SUN CITY, Ariz.) -- An auctioneer in Arizona believes he has “bulletproof” evidence his team has discovered an original Jackson Pollock painting that has been tucked away in a garage for years, and is now expected to fetch $10 to $15 million when it hits the auction block on June 20.

Josh Levine, owner and founder of J. Levine Auction & Appraisal LLC, said his company stumbled upon the possible Pollock, along with several other paintings from notable artists such as Kenneth Noland, Hazel Guggenheim McKinley, Jules Olitski and Cora Kelley Ward, when they were called out to perform appraisals for an estate sale in Sun City.

“Our gentlemen that handles the West Valley went out to the house, and the lad was telling him ‘We found an LA Lakers poster that Kobe Bryant has signed,’ ” Levine said. “He could tell they were just cleaning the house out. The gentleman was moving into assisted living, and his neighbor was assigned as his power of attorney to help out with everything.”

Once the consignment specialist, Terry Maust, laid eyes on the stack of paintings in the corner of the garage, he called Levine at the office and said, “Wow, there’s some really weird art here,” according to Levine.

Maust sent photos to his colleagues, who quickly realized they had stumbled upon a rare and impressive find.

“The first picture was a Kenneth Noland,” Levine said. “I saw the diamond shape and I was like, ‘I think those are worth a lot of money. Let’s research it.’ It turned out it was about a $100,000 painting.”

The 20th-century modern art seemed out of place for the homeowner, who wished to remain anonymous, as the décor of his house was “typically Southwestern.” But after much research into the history of these paintings, Levine learned they had all belonged to the homeowner’s estranged sister, Jenifer Gordon (Walker).

She was a striking New York socialite who rubbed elbows with the city’s rich and famous, including Peggy Guggenheim and Clement Greenberg, an American modern art critic.

“Peggy Guggenheim was writing her letters. This woman was really connected,” Levine said. “All of these artists were in the circle of Jackson Pollock. There were 14 originals from these artists, and they were all her friends. Everything on the back would say ‘To Jenifer.’ She knew them all on a first-name basis. Her old Rolodex was in there with these artists’ names and their summer homes and everything. It was amazing."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ABC News Radio