Billionaire Ken Griffin paid about $500 million for two Abstract paintings

Billionaire Ken Griffin paid about $500 million for two paintings by Abstract Expressionist masters in one of the largest private art deals ever, according to people familiar with the transaction.
Griffin, founder of Chicago-based hedge fund firm Citadel, bought works by Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning from David Geffen’s foundation, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential.
The deal, completed in the fall, is a record for both artists and exceeds the last high mark for a private sale, the $300 million that Qatar Museums paid for Paul Gauguin’s painting “When Will You Marry?” Griffin’s purchase preceded a slowdown in the art market in the second half of 2015. Sales of Impressionist, modern, postwar and contemporary art at Sotheby’s and Christie’s in London earlier this month fell from a year ago.
“In order to own the greatest art historical objects of our time one has to go above and beyond to obtain them,” said Abigail Asher, a partner at art advisory firm Guggenheim Asher Associates Inc. in New York, who wasn’t involved in the transaction.
Both paintings went on display at the Art Institute of Chicago in September 2015, said Amanda Hicks, director of public affairs at the museum. Griffin has been a trustee since 2004 and helped build the museum’s Modern wing, she said. 

Geffen, whose art collection was valued at $2.3 billion before the transaction, recently put his Malibu beach house up for sale for $100 million. Last year, the entertainment mogul announced plans to donate $100 million to renovate and rename Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. It’s now called David Geffen Hall.
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