Cohen To Sell Warhol Portrait Of Elizabeth Taylor

Mar 25 2011 | 11:59am ET

Once again, SAC Capital Advisors' Steven Cohen is showing the sort of investment acumen that has made him one of the most successful hedge fund managers of all time.

Cohen, who is also an avid art collector, will sell a 1963 Andy Warhol portrait of the actress Elizabeth Taylor, who died on Wednesday at the age of 79. The silk-screened image of Taylor on a blue background with bright red lips, called Liz #5 will go under the hammer on May 12 in New York.

"Liz #5 is a pristine gem," Michael McGinnis of auction house Phillips de Pury said. "It is Warhol at his very best with a perfect screen, glowing colors and impeccable provenance. She is classic yet every bit as cutting edge as she was when Warhol painted her nearly 50 years ago."

The painting is expected to fetch between $20 million and $30 million. It is unclear how much Cohen paid for the painting when he bought it less than four years ago from the estate of art dealer Ileanan Sonnabend. But another Warhol portrait of Taylor, sold by the actor Hugh Grant the same year Sonnabend died, went for $23.6 million.

Phillips de Pury denied that Cohen was trying to profit from Taylor's death.

"The events are not connected," a spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times. Giulia Constantini said that Cohen had consigned the painting to auction two weeks ago.

Cohen owns another iconic Warhol painting of another iconic actress, a large image of Marilyn Monroe on a gold background.

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