In the world of a Wall Street giant, most things come in black and white. Numbers rise and numbers fall, and there’s nothing creative about it. So it’s no surprise that, at the end of the day, they use their loaded bank accounts to indulge in something colorful, something imaginative: art.
These New York execs are behind some of the most impressive art collections in the city and beyond. Some collect out of passion while others do it for the turnaround. Regardless, the end results are truly unique and remarkable collections that astonish both art enthusiasts and novices alike.
FOUNDER, SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS
Cohen’s collection is a combination of impressionism, modern and contemporary styles, including pieces by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Damien Hirst and Willem de Kooning. To say that Cohen is known to spend rather freely is an understatement. In 2010, he bought one of Jasper Johns’ popular “Flag” paintings for a remarkable $110 million. Also on his list of big purchases is a $300,000 map of the world made of tin cans and an Andy Warhol Coca-Cola painting, which rang in at $35.4 million. He made his most extravagant buy in 2006 when he dropped $137 million on “Woman III” by de Kooning.
Cohen, who just joined the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art this past January, also profits from his pieces. He reportedly sold Édouard Manet’s “Self-Portrait with a Palette” for $33.2 million. Later, he sold a portrait of Elizabeth Taylor by Andy Warhol for just under $27 million.
CEO OF CITADEL LLC
Ken and wife Anne Griffin are enthusiasts of the impressionism and postimpressionism styles of art. They are the proud owners of one of the most expensive paintings ever sold; Griffin purchased Jasper Johns’ False Start for $80 million in 2006. The following year, he supported the Jasper Johns: Gray exhibition with a $500,000 donation.
The Griffins have left their mark all over the art scene—they’ve been noted on many prestigious lists of top art collectors for many years—and have left an impression on Chicago as well. The couple donated $19 million to The Art Institute of Chicago, who honored them by naming the Modern wing “Kenneth and Anne Griffin Court.”
CEO OF APOLLO GLOBAL MANAGEMENT
Leon Black’s taste is varied, with an affinity for Old Master drawings—those by European artists pre-1800—Chinese bronze sculptures, impressionism, modern painting and contemporary art. He and wife Debra have long been collecting art, making their impressive collection one of the most expansive in New York City. Their names are permanent fixtures on the top art collectors lists year after year, including ARTNews’ list of 200 Top Collectors. In 2009, the Blacks acquired Raphael’s drawing “Head of a Muse” for $47.6 million in a Christie’s auction.
Black is recognized for gifting The Metropolitan Museum of Art with an original drawing by Leonardo da Vinci. He is a trustee of The Met as well as The Museum of Modern Art. In 2007, Debra and Leon Black were honored at the MoMA Party in the Garden, which featured a special performance by Jay-Z.
CO-FOUNDER, GLOBAL INVESTMENT FIRM KOHLBERG KRAVIS ROBERTS & CO.
Henry Kravis and economist wife Maria-Josée Kravis have been active in the art scene for decades. Their preferences include 18th and 19th century works, with a focus on impressionism and contemporary pieces. The Kravis collection is complete with Monets, Renoirs and even pieces of Louis XIV’s furniture. Years of supporting The Metropolitan Museum of Art earned him the namesake “Henry Kravis Wing.”
In 2008, Kravis sold off “Danseuse au Repos” by Edgar Degas for $37 million at a Sotheby’s auction. That garnered him a $9 million profit less than 10 years after buying. Kravis has begun selling his more modern pieces to make room for contemporary works.
HEDGE FUND MANAGER AND FOUNDER OF THIRD POINT LLC
Loeb’s impressive collection is comprised of mostly contemporary, postwar and feminist art, featuring works by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince. He is also widely known for being one of the leading collectors of Martin Kippenberger, boasting an expertly curated collection. In 2009, Loeb was the primary lender of Kippenberger works for the exhibit “Problem Perspective” at MoMA.
Loeb’s wife Margaret Munzer is also very involved in the art world, and sits on the Painting and Sculpture committee at The Whitney. Loeb himself sits on the board of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.