Ken Griffin buys Basquiat painting for more than $100 million

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Citadel founder Ken Griffin paid more than $100 million for a canvas by Jean-Michel Basquiat, the late black artist who focused on issues of race and inequality.

“The vast majority of Ken’s art collection is on display at museums for the public to enjoy” said Zia Ahmed, a Citadel spokesman. “He intends to share this piece as well.”

The canvas, Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump (1982), has long been a prized possession of newsprint magnate Peter Brant. Values for Basquiat works have soared since his death in 1988. Three years ago, a Basquiat painting fetched $110.5 million at Sotheby’s, setting an auction record for an American artist.

The news of the purchase was reported earlier by Baer Faxt, an art industry newsletter, which didn’t identify the painting or say how it obtained the information.

The sale would be a major event during normal times, but the art market has been in lockdown since March and private transactions have mostly stayed below $5 million, according to dealers and auction executives.

Brant is one of the major collectors of Basquiat. Last year, he staged an exhibition of the artist’s works at his foundation in New York. Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump was among 70 works on view.

Griffin, who’s worth $15.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is a prolific collector who’s paid record prices for works by Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. He’s also a major donor to museums and is on the governing body of the Whitney Museum of American Art, whose lobby bears his name, as does a wing at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and a hall at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Basquiat joins works by female and black artists in Griffin’s collection, including by Lee Krasner, Isa Genzken, Mark Bradford, Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Virgil Abloh.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

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