Kenneth C. Griffin is the founder and CEO of the global investment firm Citadel and is one of the most active art buyers globally. In 1999, he reportedly paid a record price of $60 million for Paul Cézanne’s painting Curtain, Jug and Fruit Bowl (ca. 1893). In 2006, he bought Jasper Johns’s famous 1959 painting False Start (1959) from David Geffen for a reported $80 million. (The painting had already become famous in art-market history, when S. I. Newhouse, with dealer Larry Gagosian bidding on his behalf, purchased it at Sotheby’s in 1988 for a then-record price of $17 million.) That same year, Griffin underwrote a $19 million expansion of the Art Institute of Chicago. Designed by Renzo Piano, the new structure features Cézannes on loan from Griffin’s private collection. In 2015, he donated $40 million to the Museum of Modern Art and $10 million to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. In 2018, Griffin donated $16 million to the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida. In 2019, Griffin purchased what the Wall Street Journal deemed “America’s most expensive house,” scooping up a still-under-construction four-story penthouse on Central Park South in New York for $238 million.

© 2019 ARTnews Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. ARTnews® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Kenneth C. Griffin


Source of wealth:
Hedge fund

Collecting area:

Top 200 appearance:
, , , , , , , , , , ,

Fun fact:

$500,000,000: The amount of money Kenneth C. Griffin spent in February 2016 to acquire two masterpieces, Willem de Kooning's Interchange (1955) and Jackson Pollock’s Number 17A (1948), from the collection of David Geffen in a single transaction.