Mega-Billionaire Ken Griffin Has Moved His Masterpieces to the Beach

In 2015, the hedge fund titan Kenneth C. Griffin turned the primary particular person to spend half a billion {dollars} on artwork in a single transaction. David Geffen made a take care of Griffin to promote him Willem de Kooning’s boldly coloured summary masterpiece Interchange for $300 million, and Jackson Pollock’s Quantity 17A—the splatter portray Life journal plastered in its pages in 1949, minting Jack the Dripper an American movie star—for $200 million. 

Griffin might have scurried away with the masterpieces to one in every of his properties: a $238 million condo at 220 Central Park West and a $120 million London mansion close to Buckingham Palace, the costliest condo in Chicago historical past, getaways in Aspen and Hawaii, a big chunk of Miami’s Star Island. As an alternative he allow them to go on view on the Artwork Institute of Chicago, putting Twentieth-century masterworks subsequent to the museum’s iconic impressionist and postimpressionist holdings.

“My artwork assortment is sort of all on the Artwork Institute of Chicago, it’s been there for years,” Griffin mentioned to David Rubenstein in March 2019, whereas showing on his present Peer-to-Peer Conversations. “For me, the truth that 700,000 or 1,000,000 folks a 12 months could have an opportunity to see a number of the biggest artistic endeavors of our tradition, that I’m lucky sufficient to personal? I’ve nice satisfaction in that.”

However in some unspecified time in the future over the previous few years, these two works, the Pollock and the de Kooning traded within the largest artwork sale ever, had been quietly taken down from the museum. Their whereabouts had been unknown. 

The Saturday after Artwork Basel, I took a Brightline practice from Miami to Palm Seaside to attend openings and cocktails events that make up the New Wave Artwork Weekend. At one level I swung by the Norton, the West Palm Seaside museum that homes the gathering of Ralph Hubbard Norton, a Twentieth-century metal magnate from Chicago who summered in Florida. I had seen the everlasting assortment twice previously two years and thought I knew it fairly nicely, however after strolling out from a gallery of top-notch work by Georgia O’Keeffe, Stuart Davis, and Edward Hopper, I noticed a piece made the 12 months Norton died, one thing I had presumed would have been nicely out of the museum’s acquisitions funds: Mark Rothko’s No. 2 (Blue, Pink and Inexperienced) (Yellow, Pink, Blue on Blue) (1953), which exploded the artist’s market when it bought at Sotheby’s in 2000 for $11 million, or about $30 million accounting for inflation. 

Because the wall textual content defined, it was on the Norton on mortgage from a non-public assortment, after having been proven on the Artwork Institute of Chicago from October 2020 to June 2022. Additionally new was a peak Roy Lichtenstein masterwork, Ohhh…Alright… (1964), which set an artist report when it bought for $42.6 million at Christie’s, consigned by Steve Wynn, who purchased it from Steve Martin. It too was proven on the Artwork Institute of Chicago, and belongs, the wall textual content mentioned, to a non-public assortment. And throughout the corridor, an untitled Robert Ryman that was on the partitions of the good Chicago museum as just lately as 2017 was hanging on the Norton, because of a non-public assortment. 

Sources confirmed that every one three got here from Griffin. 

After which, round a nook and put in with little to no ceremony, had been two works very a lot in a non-public assortment, however a group that everybody is aware of: Interchange and Quantity 17A, owned by Griffin. 

With out fanfare, a minimum of a billion {dollars} of Griffin’s artwork departed the second-biggest encyclopedic establishment within the nation and ended up in Palm Seaside. The Norton declined to remark when requested in regards to the new works in its assortment, as did the Artwork Institute, however Griffin offered an announcement to True Colours on Thursday. 

“The Norton is one in every of our nation’s most important and exquisite museums,” Griffin mentioned. “I hope South Florida households, college students and guests will get pleasure from and be impressed by these items and the 1000’s of artistic endeavors from all around the world displayed on the museum.”

Griffin was very public about transferring Citadel, his hedge fund with over $50 billion in property, to Miami earlier this year. The prodigal son of the sunshine state—Griffin’s a Boca Raton native and a graduate of Boca Raton Neighborhood Excessive Faculty—returned in after many years of assist for Chicago, the town he lived in since graduating from Harvard in 1989 and instantly crushed it along with his personal fund. 

In departing the Windy Metropolis, Griffin left behind the Illinois governor (and fellow billionaire) with whom he publicly feuded over elevating taxes on the rich and what he claimed was a rising crime charge (JB Pritzker); and a gubernatorial candidate that Griffin bankrolled to the tune of $50 million solely to see steamrolled in a Republican major by a Trump-backed candidate (Richard Irvin). (However: Anne Dias-Griffin, his ex-wife and fellow hedgie who claimed in a yearlong divorce battle that she was pressured to signal a prenup that solely gave her a $1 million a 12 months, additionally just lately moved to Miami.) 

On the outset of the pandemic, Griffin rented out your entire 4 Seasons in Palm Seaside, parked off-duty cops outdoors, and restricted entry to anybody however his staff. He made Citadel’s transfer official in June, taking space in a building owned by fellow art-collecting billionaire Vlad Doronin, till a brand new HQ might be constructed. He’s spent weekends on Palm Seaside, the place he’s purchased up sizable contiguous chunks of the south a part of the island. 

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