The mystery buyer who paid $91 million for Jeff Koons' now-infamous rabbit sculpture - a purchase that prompted WSJ to speculate about the art market entering a "frothy period" - has been unmasked: According to ArtNet, it's Steve Cohen.
Cohen's motives in buying the piece are unclear. Did Cohen feel like treating himself after making it through 2018 without attracting more legal scrutiny from the SEC? Or did he simply want to remind the world that, although the name on the door has changed, he's still the Steve Cohen.
In any case, the match makes sense: Though Cohen had previously denied making the purchase, he is one of the world's foremost collectors of art, and his personal collection has amassed dozens of invaluable works.
Robert Mnuchin, art dealer and father of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, placed the winning bid on behalf of his client (now believed to be Cohen). But he has refused to comment on reports of Cohen's identity, and had previously refused to discuss the identity of the buyer.
The 3-foot-tall stainless steel inflatable rabbit statue was part of a group of works consigned by the Newhouse family. Cohen's winning bid was part of $2 billion in sales made during Christie's postwar and contemporary art evening auction last week.
Though the disclosure of his identity was likely inevitable, it makes sense why Cohen might want to conceal his involvement in the sale. After a year where Point72 beat its benchmarks (and most other funds) but nevertheless failed to achieve the stunning double-digit returns for which Cohen's previous firm, SAC Capital, had once been known, investors probably want to see Cohen focused more on their portfolios than his art collection, especially as his fund seeks out another $1 billion in outside money.