Billionaire Steve Cohen Goes On a $240 Million Giacometti Buying Spree

He owns the most expensive sculpture ever bought at auction.

Steve Cohen.
Photo: © 2014 Patrick McMullan Company, Inc.

Hedge fund mogul Steve Cohen was revealed today as the buyer of Alberto Giacometti’s Pointing Man (1947), which sold at Christie’s last month for $141.3 million, becoming the most expensive sculpture ever to sell at auction.

Cohen seems to be on a Giacometti spending spree. This past fall, he dropped just over $100 million ($100,965,000) on the 1950 bronze, titled, Chariot, though he appeared to be without any visible competition, as he bid via phone at Christie’s evening Impressionist sale this past November (see Giacometti Bronze Set to Become the World’s Most Expensive Sculpture at Christie’s Auction This May).

Alberto Giacometti, Pointing Man (1947), bronze with patina, hand-painted. Courtesy Christie’s.

Alberto Giacometti, Pointing Man (1947), bronze with patina, hand-painted sold for $141.3 million, the most expensive sculpture ever sold at auction.
Photo: Courtesy Christie’s.

Pointing Man, which was part of the newly-branded evening sale on May 11, titled “Looking Forward to the Past,” elicited far more excitement. It was the only one of six versions that was hand-painted by the artist, and one of two not in museums. The nearly six-foot tall work had remained in private hands since 1970 (see Five Gems From the New Yorker’s Lengthy Profile of Steve Cohen and Giacometti Sculpture Could Break $100 Million at Sotheby’s).

Following the sale, where it was one of the few star lots that did not have an auction guarantee, Brett Gorvy, Christie’s head of contemporary art, told artnet News that that house had extended a guarantee but the consignor had declined, and indicated that he would take it back if it failed to find a buyer at the auction. “He might be a little upset that he actually sold it,” Gorvy added.

News of Cohen’s recent Giacometti acquisition first appeared earlier this morning in the New York Post, which reported that “multiple sources,” confirmed Cohen as the buyer.

At least now he’ll know where it is—presumably in Greenwich Connecticut, where Cohen resides.

Sotheby's experts say Alberto Giacometti's Chariot, which was conceived in 1950 and cast in 1951–2, could bring more than $100 million. Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's.

Alberto Giacometti’s Chariot, which was conceived in 1950 and cast in 1951–2, sold to Cohen for just under $100 million at Sotheby’s this past November.
Photo: Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Among other famous Cohen acquisitions are Damien Hirst’s shark suspended in formaldehyde, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), which he acquired from British collector and subsequently restored the rotting shark. It was loaned to the the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for three years after Cohen acquired it, from 2007–2010.


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