Steven Cohen Puts Richter Back on the Market at Twice the Price

  • ‘Prag 1883’ is offered for $20 million by Gagosian Gallery
  • It was estimated at $9 million to $12 million in November 2012

Billionaire Steve Cohen has put a painting by Gerhard Richter back on the market for $20 million -- about twice the price he asked four years ago.

The 1983 work is among the priciest pieces at this week’s Art Basel, the world’s biggest modern and contemporary art fair taking place in Switzerland. Titled “Prag 1883,” the 8-by-8-foot canvas features muscular blue and red brush strokes on a yolk-yellow background. It’s displayed at the booth of Gagosian Gallery, which didn’t disclose the seller. Jonathan Gasthalter, Cohen’s spokesman, declined to comment.

Steve Cohen.

Steve Cohen.

Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

"Prag 1883" by Gerhard Richter.

Photographer: Mara Bernath/Bloomberg

Sales of Richter’s works at auction, which peaked in 2012, have since declined by 32 percent, though the artist set a record for a single work last year when hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin paid $46.6 million for a 1986 abstract canvas.

Cohen, 60, the former hedge fund manager whose fortune is estimated at $11.2 billion, is known as an astute collector and shrewd trader who regularly buys and sells privately and at auction. In November, he sold two paintings for a combined $76.7 million. Six months earlier, he bought Alberto Giacometti’s bronze of a pointing man for $141.3 million, the top auction price for the postwar artist or any sculpture, at Christie’s. During the same auction, he sold Jean Dubuffet’s painting “Paris Polka” for $24.8 million. In November 2014, Cohen paid $101 million for a Giacometti sculpture depicting a female figure on a chariot.

In 2013, Cohen sold another abstract Richter canvas for $26.5 million at Sotheby’s. He picked it up at Art Basel the year before, when it was exhibited on the stand of Pace Gallery and priced at $20 million to $25 million.

Several Richters

Art Basel, which runs in the quiet Swiss city on the Rhine River through June 19, includes several high-profile works by the 84-year-old German artist.

Richter’s "930-7 Strip" 2015.

Source: Marian Goodman gallery

At Tuesday’s opening, a 36-foot-wide digital print of countless colorful stripes bleeding into one another was a show-stopper at the Marian Goodman gallery where it hung on the outside wall. The 2015 piece, “930-7 Strip,” sold on the first day, according to the gallery. Its asking price was 3 million euros ($3.4 million). The gallery sold out its current exhibition in New York of Richter’s 20 new works.

Richter was also represented at Dominique Levy gallery with a 1970 figurative painting, “Bonley Landscape,” depicting a misty, mauve mountain range and priced at $13 million. It was unsold as of Tuesday evening.

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