Ready, Fire, Aim! - Mihail's Public Blog: Art for sale -- $300M and counting

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Art for sale -- $300M and counting

The new Wall Street hedgefund barons are bidding up art prices around the world -- as they discover a new passion -- according to this New York Times story (registration required):

For more than a century, successive generations of Wall Street titans have lavished their riches on art, hoping that a Monet or a Cézanne might add a bit of polish to the rough edges of their deal making. Now, young, little-known billionaires who manage hedge funds are roiling the art market, using the vast pools of capital they have accumulated to snatch up some of the world's most recognizable images.

Leading the way has been Steven A. Cohen, a publicity-shy hedge fund magnate living in Greenwich, Conn., who took home $350 million in 2003 and even more last year, according to people close to him.

Over the last five years, Mr. Cohen, 48, has spent more than $300 million - amassing a collection that includes one of Jackson Pollock's iconic drip paintings, a Manet self-portrait, a Monet waterlilies painting and other trophy works including a Degas sculpture of a young dancer and well-known Pop works like Andy Warhol's "Superman" and Roy Lichtenstein's "Popeye."

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