Why are drip pictures worth so much

Drop by drop: the most expensive picture in the world

The record reports on the art market come together. As soon as the cosmetics entrepreneur Ronald S. Lauder had bought Gustav Klimt's "Golden Adele" for 135 million dollars through the Christie's auction house as a so-called "private treaty", outside of an auction, in June, the news came through the "New York Times" that an “anonymous collector” of Jackson Pollock's “No. 5 ”from 1948 - for 140 million dollars (about 105 million euros).

The dripping (picture in drip technique), probably also mediated by Tobias Meyer von Sotheby’s as a "private treaty", is thus the most expensive painting in the world - outside of auctions. It was sold - quite surprisingly - by the art collector and music producer David Geffen, who did not want to confirm the report. The presumed buyer, David Martínez, was just as silent. Martínez is a financial tycoon from Mexico who has bought American art after 1945 on a large scale in recent years.

Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) is also called "Jack the Dripper" because of his style of painting. The picture, along with Pollock's early drippings from the early 1940s, is one of the most important by the painter, who became one of the most important artists of the 20th century. Pollock was, together with, among others, Frank Stella and Robert Rauschenberg, one of the painters who for the first time formulated an independent American position. In contrast to the European tradition, which weights the different parts of the picture and picture elements ("relational" art), Pollock went over to introducing an "all over" structure into the picture, in which all parts are equal ("non-relational") .

In addition, the artist's handwriting was abolished using the dripping technique, and the image structures were anonymized. Pollock let the paint drip onto the picture carrier from a painting stick, for example, and it was distributed on it according to the laws of fluid dynamics rather than according to the artist's specific will. In so-called “action painting” neither figures nor things are shown, nor any stories are told. This revolutionary position is America's most valuable contribution to modern art history and is absolutely unique in its clarity and independence.

The - ultimately not confirmed - price of 140 million dollars has little to do with the market, because there is almost no “market” for Pollock - too few works are in private hands. The dripping “No. 5 “- with 120x240 cm one of the larger ones - is one of only about seven, all the others are in museum possession. There is a dripping privately owned in Vienna, one in Japan, another in the United States, and every now and then a museum revokes a less exciting one, like MoMA in New York, which took in $ 15 million at auction for a rather black drip painting.

When a capital dripping is sold, the prices are of course higher because of the rarity. But there is no market price in the usual sense for it - this is more about one billionaire selling something to another billionaire, the rest of the world is excluded. Not just for the money. But the picture is worth every single cent, even twice.