Cohen Pays $110 Million For Famed Painting

Mar 19 2010 | 9:50am ET

SAC Capital Advisors founder Steven Cohen has built one of the most impressive private art collections in the world, rarely blanching at spending tens of millions of dollars to acquire iconic pieces.  Now, the billionaire has added another one.

Cohen has bought one of Jasper John’s famed “Flag” paintings. The hedge fund manager reportedly paid $110 million for the canvas, one of the earliest and largest in the series. Other examples hang in the hallowed halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art. The Met reportedly paid $20 million for its version in 1998.

Cohen’s latest treasure was purchased from Jean-Cristophe Castelli, son of John’s dealer, Leo Castelli, The New York Times reports. The painting has been on loan to the San Francisco Museum of Modern art for several years.

“I can confirm that Steve Cohen bought the ‘Flag’ painting,” Cohen’s art adviser, Sandy Heller, told the Times.

Another “Flag” is set to go on sale at Christie’s in less than two months.

If Cohen did pay $110 million, it’s not the first time he’s bought a painting for nine figures. In 2006, he bought a Willen de Kooning painting for $137.5 million. A year later, he paid $80 million for an Andy Warhol portrait of Marilyn Monroe.

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