Cohen's Warhol `Mao' Portrait Fetches $47.5 Million at Sotheby's

  • Painting was part of contemporary art auction in New York
  • Money manager earlier sold Fontana's canvas for $29.2 million

Andy Warhol’s portrait of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong, sold by billionaire money manager Steven A. Cohen, fetched $47.5 million in New York.

"Mao" by Andy Warhol. Source: Sothesby's

Warhol’s 1972 “Mao” was offered at Sotheby’s evening sale of contemporary art on Wednesday, which is continuing. It had been estimated at more than $40 million, or 40 times its last auction price 19 years ago. The final price includes commission; estimates don’t.

Cohen, who acquired the work in 2007 from French billionaire Francois Pinault, was the seller, according to two people familiar with the matter. An outside backer agreed to place an irrevocable bid for the work guaranteeing it will sell.

Cohen, 59, frequently buys and sells art at auctions. On Tuesday, the owner of Point72 Asset Management, a family office that manages about $11 billion, parted with a yellow, egg-shaped canvas by Lucio Fontana at Christie’s. The punctured painting fetched $29.2 million, setting an auction record for the postwar Italian artist.

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