A police raid uncovered a previously unknown Jackson Pollock painting worth an estimated $54 million

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A photograph of Jackson Pollock standing in front of some of his paintings.
American abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock (1912 - 1956) stands amid some large paintings in his studio at 'The Springs,' East Hampton, New York, August 23, 1953.Tony Vaccaro/Getty Images
  • A previously unknown painting by Jackson Pollock was discovered last week, per officials.

  • Authorities found the painting in an art-trafficking bust, Bulgarian National Radio first reported.

  • Experts estimated the painting could rack up to $54 million at an auction, according to BNR.

Authorities in Bulgaria came across something they probably didn't expect when raiding an art-trafficking ring: a painting that experts believe is a previously undiscovered work by Jackson Pollock, Bulgarian National Radio first reported.

The Bulgarian authorities conducted a raid of an international art-trafficking ring last week when they came across a painting from the abstract expressionist painter with a dedication inscribed on the back to the late American actress Lauren Bacall, per officials as reported by BNR

"Dedicated to my very talented and dear friend Lauren Bacall, Happy Birthday," the message reads, a spokesperson for the art bust said, per Bulgarian News Agency BTA. The message on the back of the painting is also dated September 16, 1949, which coincides with the actress's birthday, BTA reported.

A photo of part of the painting can be viewed at Bulgarian National Radio's website.

Five works from famous artists, whose identities were not disclosed, were also uncovered in the raid by a team of Greek authorities, according to BNR. Officials from Bulgaria and a Greek anti-crime unit were working together to investigate the art-trafficking ring, which spanned from Bulgaria to Athens to Crete.

Experts at Bulgaria's National Art Gallery, where the painting was delivered, confirmed the style of the painting corresponds to the techniques Pollock often featured in his paintings from 1945 to 1950, according to BTA. The experts at the gallery also estimated the painting could rack up to $54 million at an auction, according to the Bulgarian news site Novinite.com.

No other details about the painting have been disclosed. But it's likely the painting may feature Pollock's "drip style" technique, reported Architectural Digest.

Pollock, who died in a car accident in 1956, only left behind a small collection of work. Previously, Pollock's most expensive painting sold for $61,161,000, in 2021, according to the art market website Mutual Art.

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