It may well be the world’s most expensive painting — ever.
But nobody’s talking about it, except in whispers — especially not the office of entertainment mogul David Geffen, who reportedly sold the Jackson Pollock work for about $140 million.
Geffen’s business manager in Los Angeles, Richard Sherman, would not accept a telephone call when contacted Thursday by The Associated Press.
“No. 5, 1948” — as the work is called — has been owned by some of the world’s richest men over the years, including S. I. Newhouse Jr., the New York publishing magnate, who had sold it to Geffen.
The $140 million price would be the highest ever for a painting, topping the $135 million cosmetics heir Ronald S. Lauder paid in June for a Gustav Klimt painting titled “Adele Bloch-Bauer I.”
The Pollock is part of a series the New York expressionist created in the 1940s in his trademark “drip” style. A rich, brownish-yellow mess, the 4-foot-by-8-foot work was painted on fiberboard.
Tobias Meyer, worldwide head of contemporary art for Sotheby’s auction house, is said to have brokered the deal, according to The New York Times, which cited unnamed art experts familiar with the sale. The buyer reportedly is David Martinez, the Mexican financier who recently bought an apartment in Manhattan’s new Time Warner Center for $54.7 million. He’s also not talking.
Officials at Sotheby’s would not confirm the sale, saying they do not comment on private transactions.
Last month, Geffen sold a Jasper Johns painting and another by Willem de Kooning, both for more than $143 million.