Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced yesterday that it plans to unveil in October a "breathtaking new acquisition to Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection," a work by a "mid-century artist" that was acquired in a private sale and hasn't been exhibited in more than 40 years.
The work will be part of "See the Light: The Luminist Tradition in American Art" exhibition that will include work from the permanent collection and works on loan. Bookending the show will be nineteenth century paintings by Martin Johnson Heade (his hummingbirds define luminous) and 20th century light installation artist Dan Flavin.
OK. Light, mid-century artist, privately owned, publicly seen 40 years ago. Could it be Jackson Pollock's "No. 5, 1948"?
The Pollock — a drip painting that covers the canvas with color without sacrificing light — was sold in 2006 for a record $140 million to a private buyer. At the time, it was speculated that billionaire David Martinez was the buyer, but he denied it.
The brown, yellow and burnt umber "No 5" was painted on an 8-by-4-foot sheet of fiberboard. I probably have a one in a million chance of being right, but what's to lose in guessing?
The "See the Light" exhibit runs Oct. 13 through Jan. 28; museum members will get to see the new work at a preview Oct. 12.