Billionaires Cohen and Pinault Said to Sell $46 Million of Art

Updated on
  • Cohen’s painting by Basquiat fetched $35 million at Christie’s
  • Pinault’s massive portrait of a man sold for $10.6 million

Billionaire collectors boosted Christie’s $448 million postwar and contemporary art auction in New York on Wednesday.

Steven A. Cohen and Francois Pinault -- with a combined net worth of about $33 billion -- parted with significant paintings from their collections, according to people familiar with the matter.

The works -- offered anonymously as is common in the opaque art trade -- were among a trove expected to reap more than $1.3 billion at the semiannual Impressionist, modern, postwar and contemporary art sales at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips auction houses this week. Representatives for Cohen, Pinault and Christie’s declined to comment.

Christie’s results represented a 41 percent increase from last year’s event. The 71-lot auction set records for four artists, including living stars Mark Grotjahn and Rudolf Stingel. With more than half of the offerings backed by guaranteed bids, just three works failed to find buyers.

Here’s how they fared.

Steve Cohen

Chairman, Point72 Asset Management

Artist: Jean-Michel Basquiat
Artwork: "La Hara" (1981)
Sale price: $35 million
Sale estimate: $22 million-$28 million
Auction record for artist: $57.3 million
Guarantee: Yes

"La Hara"

Source: Christie’s

Francois Pinault

Founder of Artemis, a holding company that owns Christie’s and that’s a controlling shareholder of luxury goods maker Kering

Artist: Rudolf Stingel
Artwork: "Untitled (After Sam)" (2006)
Sale price: $10.6 million
Estimate: $10 million-$15 million
Previous auction record for artist: $4.7 million
Guarantee: Yes

"Untitled (After Sam)"

Source: Christie’s
Top Lots

Artist: Cy Twombly
Artwork: “Leda and the Swan” (1962)
Sale Price: $52.9 million
Estimate: $35 million-$55 million
Auction record for artist: $70.5 million
Guarantee: No

"Leda and the Swan" by Cy Twombly

Source: Christie’s

Artist: Francis Bacon
Artwork: “Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer” (1963)
Sale Price: $51.8 million
Estimate: $50 million-$70 million
Auction record for artist: $142.4 million
Guarantee: No

“Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer”

Source: Christie’s

Sold-out Picasso

At Sotheby’s, collectors fought over lower-price works by Pablo Picasso sold by the artist’s granddaughter Marina Picasso on Thursday. The 20th century master has held the crown of the world’s most expensive artist at auction for the past two years. But “Picasso Man & Beast” sale offered 111 works on paper and unique ceramics estimated as low as $5,000. Each one sold. 

Artworks: 64 works on paper, 47 ceramics
Sale price: $10.3 million
Estimate: $3.3 million to $4.7 million
Auction record for artist: $179.4 million

Works by Picasso.

Source: Sotheby’s
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