Broad Museum Rabbit by Jeff Koons, May 5 2017, in Los Angeles, California. File Picture: GETTY IMAGES/SANTI VISALLI
Broad Museum Rabbit by Jeff Koons, May 5 2017, in Los Angeles, California. File Picture: GETTY IMAGES/SANTI VISALLI

New York — Steve Cohen was unmasked by Artnet as the mystery buyer of a Jeff Koons rabbit sculpture last week in New York for $91m, a record for a living artist at auction.

The hedge fund billionaire was outed on Tuesday by the online art publication, which didn’t say how it got the information. Cohen had denied purchasing the work at Christie’s postwar and contemporary art evening auction last week.

The winning bid came from art dealer Bob Mnuchin — the father of US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin — who was in the sales room and said he made the purchase on behalf of a client. The elder Mnuchin and Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesperson for Cohen, declined to comment, as did a Christie’s spokeswoman.

The stainless steel, 1m-tall inflatable bunny was part of a group of works consigned by the family of late media mogul Si Newhouse.

Art collectors and investors shelled out more than $2bn over five days of auctions in New York last week. Cohen, the founder of Point72 Asset Management, is one of the world’s top collectors, having amassed works from Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein and Jasper Johns. He’s worth $10.2bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

With Katherine Burton

Bloomberg