“Ken Griffin”

$500 million for two Expressionist paintings

Collector Ken Griffin has made two new painting acquisitions for $500 million, thus setting a new record for a private sale. The works in question are two Expressionist paintings by Willem de Kooning — Interchange (1955), purchased for $300 million — and Jackson Pollock — Number 17A (1948) for $200 million. The sum illustrates the trend of private-sale prices rising compared to those at auctions, where the record for a work is held by Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (version « O »), sold for “only” $179.4 million. Ken Griffin is no debutant art collector. Founder of the company Citadel that has turned him into the richest man in Illinois, he is known for his commitment to the art market as a member of several museum boards, such as that of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, or the Chicago Art Institute. In December 2015 Ken Griffin also donated nearly $40 million to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Prior to his last two acquisitions, the Griffin collection was worth an estimated $2.3...

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