Josh Levine announces that a Jackson Pollock painting will not be sold June 20, 2017, minutes before it was scheduled to go on the auction block at J. Levine Auction and Appraisal LLC, 10345 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. Mark Henle/azcentral.com
The highly anticipated auction of a painting billed as a Jackson Pollock original has been postponed.
Auction-house owner Josh Levine cited improper vetting and dropped bids as the reason for delaying the auction, which had been set for 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Dozens of people had gathered for the auction at J. Levine Auction and Appraisal in Scottsdale, where the painting was displayed on a wing of the stage alongside a picture of the previous owner, Jenifer Gordon, the late New York socialite.
Levine took the stage Tuesday, not to start the bidding at $5 million, but to announce that the painting would remain in his possession for at least the near future.
“It’s regrettable for us to announce this, but we have to cancel the sale,” Levine said, prompting a few groans from the audience.
“We had some issues vetting a couple of people who signed up for the sale; they don’t appear to have the funds,” he said. “There’s been some gamesmanship, and it is in the best interest that we don’t …”
Levine gave the podium a light, but frustrated, slap.
“I’ve worked on this for 18 months,” Levine said.
Bidders were able to register and bid online ahead of the auction, or register and bid on-site.
Levine said the process of being allowed to bid on this piece involved a credit check, bank letter of credit or bank letter of reference. Those approaching him simply claiming they were good for it were causing him problems, he said.
“We’ve had people register to bid, drop out, place bids, remove bids,” he said. “They’re playing games, and we can’t let that happen. We’re working with someone who is really behind what we’re doing.”
Levine apologized to the audience and thanked them for coming. He said he fully expected people to call him within the hour, looking to buy the painting privately.
“As you can imagine, this is very disappointing,” said Susan Kern-Fleischer, a spokeswoman for the auction house.
“This art world needs to accept this (as a Pollock), because it’s real,” said Levine.
Levine said Tuesday in a press release that they did not yet know when they would put the painting back up for auction.
“Over the next few days, we’ll announce plans for the next step to connect this piece of art history to its new owner,” Levine said.
Levine said he is excited and confident the auction house will find a new owner for the rare piece.
Josh Levine talks about an original Jackson Pollock painting, June 6, 2017, in a conference room at J. Levine Auction and Appraisal in Scottsdale. Levine expects the painting to sell for between $10 million and $15 million. Mark Henle/azcentral.com
Read or Share this story: http://azc.cc/2sR4CPN