Kenneth Griffin (courtesy of MoMA)
The billionaire hedge-funder Ken Griffin has bought two Abstract Expressionist paintings for around $500m from the business magnate David Geffen’s foundation, according to Bloomberg Businessweek
. The news was first reported in the industry newsletter Baer Faxt, although the buyer was not named.
Griffin purchased Willem de Kooning’s Interchange (1955) for around $300m and Jackson Pollock's Number 17A (1948) for around $200m in a deal reportedly completed last Fall. The paintings were both on view last September at the Art Institute of Chicago, where Griffin is a trustee.
The sale surpassed the $300m purchase of Paul Gauguin’s painting When Will You Marry (1892) by the Qatar Museums Authority in February 2015.
Otherwise, top-end sales for post-war and contemporary art have been down overall this year. Christie's contemporary art sale in London on 11 February pulled on £49.8m (£58.2m with premium), failing to met an estimate of £50.1m to £74.9m. A Sotheby's sale on 10 February was similarly lacklustre. It brought in £59.4m (£69.5m with premium) against an estimate of £60.2m-£86.1m.