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February 17th, 2016, It was reported that a major painting by Willem de Kooning and an equally important Jackson Pollock painting, both from an established West Coast collection, sold for $500 million to a Midwest hedge fund manager.

The de Kooning painting is reported to be “Interchange”, a significant masterpiece of Abstract Expressionism with a crucial 1955 date. The work originally sold for a record $20.68 million in 1989 against an unusually high estimate of $4-6 million. The price was the highest price ever paid for a post WWII contemporary artwork at auction and a record for a living artist at that time. The work had been sold at auction by the estate of Edgar J. Kaufmann Jr., who had bought the painting in 1955 for $4,000. The 1989 purchaser was a Japanese collector who went by the auction name of Mountain Tortoise.

The painting was ultimately resold after the market crash of 1990 and was, until recently, the cornerstone of the art collection of Hollywood producer David Geffen.

And the Pollock painting included in the transaction was reported to be Number 17a, 1948. 

In terms of just the de Kooning, from the time Edgar J. Kaufmann Jr. bought the painting to the time he sold it, the painting went up in value $1689 every day, $50,686 every month, and $608,235 each year for 34 years.

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* Insider Dealing

* The Art Dealers Art Dealer

* London Calling: Part 2


About the Author

Lawrence Klepper

Lawrence Klepper

As an artist, Gallery Management Instructor, Gallery Director, Independent Curator, and Special Exhibitions Coordinator for City art museums, college art galleries, and commercial galleries in Califor...