*A 50-by-40-inch painting of Michael Jackson by Australian artist Brett-Livingstone Strong is going up for auction on eBay this evening, the portrait’s owner said Tuesday.
The portrait, titled “The Book,” and reportedly the only painting for which the King of Pop ever posed, depicts Jackson in a red velvet jacket, clutching a journal at his Neverland Ranch.
“I’ve had it an awful long time,” said toy inventor Marty Abrams, who acquired the painting with partner John Gentilly in 1992 from Japanese businessman Hiromichi Saeki as payment on a debt owed to them. “With the positive response to his music and the movie about him after his death, we thought it was a good time to sell it and for the world to see it.”
Abrams has stored the painting in a New Jersey warehouse for over 17 years. It was briefly on display at the Dancy-Power Automotive showroom in Harlem after Jackson’s death last June.
The fantastical painting, which also features the fairy character Tinkerbell hovering in the background, was originally sold to Saeki for $2.1 million in 1990. Abrams said the painting was appraised by Belgo Fine Art Appraisal and Restoration at $5.3 million in 2000, but he believes it is worth more now.
Abrams hopes it will fetch over $3 million in the auction, which is scheduled to end April 17. The minimum starting bid will be $2.75 million.