Billionaire Collector Ken Griffin Quietly Moves His Masterpieces from the Art Institute of Chicago to Florida

Billionaire art collector Ken Griffin has moved several of his most high-profile artworks from the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is a trustee, to the Norton, an art museum in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Several artworks from Griffin’s $1 billion collection—Mark Rothko’s No. 2 (Blue, Red and Green) (Yellow, Red, Blue on Blue), 1953, Roy Lichtenstein masterwork, Ohhh…Alright… (1964), an untitled Robert Ryman, Willem de Kooning’s abstract masterpiece Interchange, and Jackson Pollock’s Number 17A—are currently on display in the museum named after 20th-century steel magnate Ralph Hubbard Norton.

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“The Norton is one of our country’s most significant and beautiful museums,” Griffin told Vanity Fair, who first reported the news. “I hope South Florida families, students and visitors will enjoy and be inspired by these pieces and the thousands of works of art from all over the world displayed at the museum.”

Griffin, who ranks on the ARTnews To 200 Collectors list, has long had works from his collection shown at the Art Institute. The Rothko was previously on display there from October 2020 to June 2022, and the Ryman could be viewed there until 2017.

Griffin’s art spending has also repeatedly prompted headlines for its eye-watering numbers. He bought the de Kooning from David Geffen for $300 million, and the Pollock for $200 million. Both of these works were also displayed at the Art Institute before quietly being taken down.

Other notable art purchases by Griffin include a Cézanne that cost $60.5 million, a Jasper Johns that cost $80 million, a Jean-Michel Basquiat that cost $100 million, and a Barnett Newman that cost $84.2 million. The sum paid for the Newman set a new record for the Abstract Expressionist.

The news of the relocated artworks follows the move to Miami by Griffin’s hedge fund Citadel earlier this year. Over the past decade, the billionaire has also reportedly spent $350 million on property in Palm Beach.

Griffin is from the South Florida city of Boca Raton but moved to Chicago after graduating from Harvard in 1989.

The Citadel founder’s arts patronage has also taken roots in the Sunshine State. In 2018, Griffin donated $20 million to the Norton, enough to earn him the naming rights to the new wing and the museum’s director. In 2019, Griffin told Bloomberg at the museum’s gala that it was “an opportunity to do something special in Palm Beach, to honor my past and honor my future.”

According to Vanity Fair, the Norton also has on display three of Griffin’s earliest art acquisitions which inspired his passion for collecting: the Edgar Degas painting Dancers in Green, the Degas sculpture Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen, and a Claude Monet water lilies painting.

The Art Institute and Norton both did not respond to requests from ARTnews for comment.

Source: artnews.com

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