Steve Cohen's Art Dealer Explains Why The Purchase Of A $155 Million Picasso Was Not A Slap In The Face To The SEC

Steve Cohen

Reports surfaced a couple weeks ago that billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, whose SAC Capital has come under scrutiny lately, secretly bought Picasso’s “Le Rêve” from Steve Wynn for $155 million. 

It was assumed that Cohen had just purchased the painting after settling a $616 million insider trading probe with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  

That’s not the case.

Cohen’s art dealer went on record to clarify the timing of the purchase in an interview with the New York Times last week. Even Cohen gave a 10 word comment on the record in a rare interview. 

The news was buried in an article about Cohen’s ex-wife having her suit against him reinstated: 

DealBook’s Peter Lattman and Carol Vogel report: 

Sandy Heller, Mr. Cohen’s art adviser, said on Wednesday that the sale was completed in early November of last year, a few weeks before the insider trading cases against SAC Capital entered a more serious phase with the indictment of one of his former employees. The purchase price was $150 million, not $155 million, according to people with knowledge of the transaction.

“The timing was bad,” said Mr. Heller, referring to last week’s reports about the Picasso purchase. “We’re correcting the chronology.”

In an interview Wednesday, Mr. Cohen, a collector who also owns works by Jasper Johns and Damien Hirst, said that he had coveted “Le Rêve” for years. “When you stand in front of it, you’re blown away,” Mr. Cohen said.

Now that’s settled. 

(Hat Tip: ShaneFerro)

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