The New York Times loves its art market stories these days. Following two A1 stories on market misdeeds, the Times goes to the C front with a different kind of market tale. Late last week, Dealbook ran an item speculating that Steven Cohen was selling art work to pay his formidable legal bills.
Now the Times is setting the record straight on itself while pushing its art market reporter to do some detailed sleuthing on what exactly is on offer. Here’s the Times setting the record straight:
People close to Mr. Cohen, who were not authorized to speak, say that the art sales from his fabled collection are not an effort to raise money for his mounting fines and legal fees. Even after his fines are paid, Mr. Cohen will still have billions of dollars in the bank.
Ever the trader, Mr. Cohen is also taking advantage of today’s active art market where new collectors will often pay far more for artworks than they are worth.
And the more interesting information is here, including the fact that the Marden, Richter and Stingels all have guarantees which is probably more indicative of the reason for the sale—that Sotheby’s went to Cohen looking for works for their auction:
But details emerged late last month that he is selling three works at Sotheby’s on Nov. 13: a 1986 abstract canvas by Gerhard Richter and two Warhols, both from 1963: “Liz #1 (Early Colored Liz)” and “5 Deaths on Turquoise” from the artist’s celebrated “Death and Disaster” series.
In addition to those marquee works, Mr. Cohen is selling about a dozen other pieces, mostly at Sotheby’s, that he acquired in recent years at art fairs and auctions. […] One gem coming up at Sotheby’s is “The Attended” (1996-99), by Brice Marden, a reference to pottery figures placed in Chinese tombs to accompany the dead in the afterlife. Mr. Cohen acquired the work, estimated to sell for $7 million to $10 million, from the Matthew Marks Gallery in Manhattan for an undisclosed price. Other top works include a 2010 self-portrait by Rudolf Stingel, expected to go for $3 million to $5 million, and a 2009 bronze sculpture by Cy Twombly estimated at $2 million to $3 million; both were purchased from Larry Gagosian.
Under Fire, A Hedge Fund Billionaire to Sell Art (New York Times)