Europol Raid in Bulgaria Unearths Lost Jackson Pollock Painting

Apparently the painting was dedicated to Lauren Bacall

Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock in 1953.
Tony Vaccaro/Getty Images

It’s not unusual to hear reports of law enforcement conducting a raid on a business or storage space as part of a larger effort against organized crime. In certain cases, the end result of that will involve an announcement about the recovery of stolen goods, drugs or weapons. What’s a lot less familiar is one of those raids turning up a valuable work of art — like, say, a Jackson Pollock painting.

And yet that’s exactly what took place this week in Bulgaria. As The Art Newspaper reports, a Europol-led raid in the city of Sofia turned up what appears to be a painting by Pollock with a 1949 date — and a dedication to Lauren Bacall. According to the article, the raid in Sofia was one part of a larger operation that also sent law enforcement to Athens and Crete. The painting is reportedly valued at close to $54 million.

The discovery of the Pollock painting isn’t the only eyebrow-raising part of the announcement. Instead, it’s the fact that the painting wasn’t the only work by a world-famous artist found as part of the raid. Radio Bulgaria reports that “[f]ive other paintings by prominent artists” were also turned up as part of Europol’s efforts.

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According to an article on the news site Novinite, the painting is in the hands of Bulgaria’s National Art Gallery, where experts will take a deeper look into its history. This discovery seems like the tip of the proverbial iceberg — and between the dedication and the painting’s discovery in Sofia, there seem to be several stories still waiting to be told.

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