Painted on fibreboard, this painting is 8' x 4'. Pollock used liquid synthetic resin paints, which are usually just referred to as oil paints when the work was classified.
The drizzle technique if examined carefully, has achieved its effect by using a subtle mixture of yellow, white, brown and grey. Perceived as a dense bird's nest, the responses by people that were not well versed in his methods were not particularly positive.
After the original painting had been completed in 1948, Pollock changed it slightly due to damage. Its inaugural showing was at the Betty Parsons art gallery in 1949.
It was the only canvas that was sold and was bought by Alfonso A Ossorio for $1,500. The painting was damaged in the centre, and Pollock patched it up for delivery, thinking that it would not be noticed. In fact, the purchaser did see that it was slightly different and the artist offered to repaint it entirely. This was turned down.
In 2006, the painting was allegedly bought by David Martinez off David Geffen for a price of $140 million. It is believed that the sale was concluded to raise capital to buy the Los Angeles Times. This transaction was brokered by Sotheby's. However, Martinez later announced that he was not the owner of the painting.
It was estimated in 2015 that Number 5 is the fifth most expensive, ever to be sold to a private collector.
Rock band Stone Roses made references to the painting in one of their songs, and the painting was also the 'star' in the film Ex Machina.