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April 01, 2009

Sotheby's and Hedge Fund Billionaire Steven A. Cohen... in Bed Together?

Sotheby's and Hedge Fund Billionaire Steven A. Cohen... in bed together?

So starting on April 2nd, and running till April 14th.. Sotheby's will be "hosting" a show of Steven A. Cohen's private art collection. The show is titled "WOMEN" to include 20 works with all female subjects. For Details click here ==> Sotheby's sells out to big share holder.

This show, just so happens to almost coincide with Sotheby's big Spring Modern and Contemporary Art Auctions.. wow, what a strange coincidence.

The claim is none of the work will be offered for sale, and this is just Mr. Cohen's nice way of giving the little people public a chance to see his high end art collection.  And isn't it sweet of Sotheby's to do something soo generous for thier clients and public.

FYI, there were rumors Mr. Cohen was trying to sell several works of Art just a few months ago. He had reportedly consigned at least 8 paintings to NY dealers, and once the art market crashed he had pulled the consigned work from art dealers.

Also of note.. after a recent stock purchase, Mr. Cohen, now owns over 5.76% of Sotheby's...making Steven the 3rd largest owner in the auction house. 

Richard_Prince_Graduate_Nurse_02 So.. we guess there are other ways to dump an art collection skin a cat.

Hmmm... Maybe the page from the Billionaire Art Opportunist Collector playbook could be :

  • Step 1.. Buy lots of Art, push prices way up, and tell everyone who'll listenin the media you're a wise long term buyer.

  • (Photo #1, Richard Prince, "Graduate Nurse, 2002",Ink jet print and acrylic on canvas,89 in x 52 in.   FYI... A description from Sotheby's.. "This work is one of the best paintings Prince ever made, particularly because of its monumental scale and the rich, painterly quality of the brushstrokes")

  • Step 2.. Buy an art auction house (or a Whopping controlling interest in one),

  • Step 3.. Stage a show of the great works having auction house experts tout your collection..

  • Step 4..Tell everyone these art works, on proud display, are not for sale

  • Step 5... Wait for someone stupid enough to say.. I wish I could have a collection like the one by this well known art collector, which just happens to be on display in the auction house.

  • Step 6.. To be determined.... Hmm.. possibly.. Cash out..??   

Which reminds MAO of an Art joke...

Q:  How does one sell 100 Million Dollars worth of Contemporary Art?

A:  First Buy $200 million of Contemporary Art.. and then try to sell it!

OUCH! OK.. Well.. Maybe MAO is just being a bit too much of a bitch cynic... What do you think? Nice of Mr. Cohen and Sotheb'ys.. or totally self serving ?

Anyway.. here's a story by Lindsay Pollock of Bloomberg News wrote...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 SAC’s Cohen Shows Off $137 Million ‘Woman’ at Sotheby’s Exhibit
2009-04-01 04:01:00.25 GMT


By Lindsay Pollock and Philip Boroff
     April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Steven Cohen, who runs the $14
billion hedge-fund manager SAC Capital Advisors, is raising his
profile as an art collector with an unusual loan show at
Sotheby’s in New York.
     Starting tomorrow, the auction house will display 20 rarely
seen works by such artists as Andy Warhol and Vincent van Gogh.
They have a combined market value of about $450 million, dealers
say. The pieces, owned by Cohen and his wife, Alexandra, all
depict women.
     Auction houses often host special exhibitions to showcase
sales in advance. In this case, Sotheby’s and Cohen say the show
will offer nothing for sale, although it does coincide with
Cohen’s increasingly close ties to the auctioneer.
     As of March 6, SAC owned 5.9 percent of the company, up
from 4.6 percent on Dec. 31, according to filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission.
     Cohen, 52, has paid large sums as he built up a major art
collection. He’s best known as the 2004 buyer of Damien Hirst’s
$8 million formaldehyde-soaked shark, on loan to New York’s
Metropolitan Museum of Art.
     More recently, he snagged two pieces by Jeff Koons,
including the shiny 9-foot-tall “Hanging Heart (Violet/Gold)”
sculpture, according to people familiar with the transaction.
Another heart from the same series fetched $23.6 million at
Sotheby’s in 2007.
     Last year, Cohen consigned at least eight paintings to New
York dealers to sell, among them works by Willem de Kooning,
Ed
Ruscha
and Pablo Picasso. He hoped to raise money for a major
purchase that -- as financial markets tumbled -- he ultimately
decided not to make, according to sources close to Cohen. They
declined to disclose his target.

                      ‘Business Prospects’

     The Sotheby’s exhibition has provoked curiosity. “Cohen is
doing what he can to improve business prospects at Sotheby’s,”
said William N. Goetzmann, a former museum director and Yale
School of Management professor. “He is improving the value of
his art by showcasing it in a dramatic fashion.”
     With the art market in a funk, Sotheby’s and Christie’s
International are scrounging for goods to sell in the May
auctions, auction house sources say.
     Sotheby’s is publishing a 48-page hardbound illustrated
color catalog, with an essay by art historian Joachim Pissarro.
And it has allocated prime 10th-floor exhibition space to Cohen
for a week-and-a-half, twice as long as the house ordinarily
devotes to profit-making auction previews.
     During the past decade, Cohen, based in
Greenwich,
Connecticut
, has bought voraciously, acquiring through art
adviser Sandy Heller and dealers including Gagosian Gallery,
Acquavella Galleries and the firm Giraud Pissarro Segalot.

                         Eclectic Tastes

     The Sotheby’s exhibition reveals Cohen as a man of eclectic
tastes, who chased down a wide range of major artworks, buying
at auction and from other collectors including Steve Wynn and
David Geffen.
     “It’s an opportunity to see works that everyone has been
talking about and not a lot of people have seen,” said Tom L.
Freudenheim, a former assistant secretary for museums at the
Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
     The show includes the 1952-53 de Kooning “Woman III,”
acquired from Geffen for $137 million, as well as Cezanne’s dour
1900 “Portrait of a Woman,” which Cohen acquired for $10
million at Christie’s in 2004. Other auction booty includes
Marlene Dumas’s 10-foot-wide “The Visitor,” purchased at
Sotheby’s in London for a record $6.3 million last July.
     Last summer, as Cohen prepared to make the mysterious major
purchase, he approached Sotheby’s about selling a group of
artworks in the November auctions -- including a work by Koons
and a painting by Maurice de Vlaminck -- valued at around $100
million, according to dealers and auction-house sources. The
group was ultimately not put up for sale.
     The works he withdrew from sale at private galleries in
Manhattan included Picasso’s “Homme a la Pipe,” insured for
$20 million, and currently on view at Gagosian Gallery.
     “The Cohens are continually refining their collection when
the opportunity presents itself,” explained spokesman Jonathan
Gasthalter.

--Editors: Manuela Hoelterhoff, Jeffrey Burke.


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At least Sothebys is not paying him a 100 million dollar bonus ...of taxpayer money. I doubt an exhibition at Sothebys is going to add much to the value or provenance to the work, especially if you know of the ties. Plus it sounded like this guy was buying when prices were at their highs, good for him if he has to take a loss and go to extraordinary means to do so. Maybe I should be but I'm not shocked by any of this.

I read Richard Prince was into apropriation and that's why his conceptual program is important. I never read/heard anything about the painterly quality of his work (or that Prince is a good Painter until just now). It has to be a joke right?

By comparison, you could point many contemporary artists who use same drip techniques or "quotations" of drips if you will (everything has baggage these days what with obsessive documentation by historians and the historically minded) - meaning drips as references. I myself am unimpressed by such "content" - though I've learned some people find this to be very interesting (historians, bored painters, paint fetishists).

But I do very much enjoy the hyperbole. Bring on the heroes, hedge fund gods!

long term lend it street cred or or cultural provenance as well as consumer.

PoP goes the Artworld.

Obviously, the validity of Cohen has to be taken into account here. He could just be an egomaniac and feels like he has great work and wants people to be envious. Or, he could be trying to profit from his collection. Neither one is a fitting mentality for an actual interested-in-art art collector. Most of the people I know, artists or not, like what they like and find it hard to explain why, and I have never seen or heard anyone trying to make someone jealous of the painting/ print they have hanging in the dining room. So, all things considered, he is either a) attempting to profit from his collection in a not so sneaky way; or b) being a pompous ass; or c) is off his rocker. There is also the chance that it's a mixture of all 3. If nothing else I'd like to see what he has, assuming it's more than a lot of Prince's work....

I want to offer you one of painting made of the painter Raden Saleh in 1876. If you interest in it, I will give some information more, soon. After you respons my message.

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