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Apollo’s Black Makes Top 10 Art Power List Led by Koons

November 25, 2013

Jeff Koons

"Balloon Dog (Orange) by Jeff Koons. The work was sold for $58.4 million at Christie's New York in Nov. 2013. Koons led Art & Auction’s magazine’s list of the 10 most powerful art world participants in 2013. Source: 2013 Christie's Images Ltd. via Bloomberg

Leon Black, the billionaire co-founder of private-equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC (APO:US), made Art & Auction magazine’s list of the 10 most powerful art world participants for the first time.

Black is ranked eighth in the magazine’s 2013 “Power 100” issue, ahead of Qatar’s Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who topped the list two years ago. Published by New York-based Louise Blouin Media Inc., the 11th annual power issue reaches newsstands on Dec. 3.

“Leon Black is a very passionate and committed collector, a connoisseur,” said Benjamin Genocchio, editor-in-chief of Art & Auction, in a telephone interview. “He has been clearly in an acquisitive phase recently.”

Black paid $120 million for Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” in May 2012, according to the magazine -- a record price for an artwork at auction at the time -- then lent it for six months for exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Apollo’s 62-year-old chairman and chief executive officer, who co-founded the New York-based firm in 1990, is worth $8.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Black declined to comment on the power list, said Charles Zehren, a spokesman at Rubenstein Associates Inc.

In October 2012, Black acquired Phaidon Press Ltd., a visual-arts publisher, for an undisclosed sum. Two months later, he paid $47.8 million for a Raphael drawing, “Head of a Young Apostle,” according to the magazine, setting an auction record for a work on paper.

‘Monster Year’

Jeff Koons, who became the world’s most expensive living artist this month when his “Balloon Dog” sculpture sold for $58.4 million at Christie’s, leads the power list. That’s a reversal from last year, when no artist made the top 10.

In May, Koons, 58, had two concurrent solo shows in Chelsea, New York’s gallery epicenter: One was at Gagosian Gallery, the artist’s main dealer; the other, five blocks south, at Gagosian’s rival, David Zwirner gallery.

“Koons had a monster year,” Genocchio said. “He is in a position to demand whatever he wants from the art world infrastructure.”

Zwirner, 49, who opened a new 30,000-square-foot gallery space in New York and wooed Koons, Richard Serra and Yayoi Kusama from Gagosian, follows in second position. Larry Gagosian, 68, whose empire includes 13 galleries, is ranked sixth.

“Gagosian now has competitors and imitators who challenge his supremacy,” Genocchio said. “Zwirner is younger and hungrier.”

Cohen’s Sales

Blackstone Group (BX:US)’s James Tomilson Hill III made the “power collectors” section of the magazine. His almost 40 bronze statuettes will go on view at the Frick Collection in New York starting Jan. 28 as part of “Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Hill Collection.”

Absent from the Power 100 list for the second straight year is hedge-fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen, whose Stamford, Connecticut-based SAC Capital Advisors LP pleaded guilty on Nov. 8 to securities fraud and agreed to pay $1.8 billion to settle insider-trading charges with U.S. prosecutors.

Late last year, Cohen, 57, bought Picasso’s “Le Reve” for $155 million from casino billionaire Stephen A. Wynn. This month, he sold at least $77 million of art at Sotheby’s, including Gerhard Richter’s 1986 abstract painting “A.B. Courbet,” which went for $26.5 million.

“He’s not on the list because he’s de-accessioning,” Genocchio said of Cohen, who made the 2011 Power 100. “He switched gears in the last few months and turned from being an acquirer to being a seller.”

To contact the reporters of this story: Katya Kazakina in New York at;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at

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