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Steve Cohen buys Lichtenstein's 'Masterpiece' for $165 million

  • Hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen has purchased a Roy Lichtenstein painting for $165 million.
  • The painting, called "Masterpiece," is believed to be among the 10 most expensive ever sold.
  • The sale highlights Steve Cohen's continued confidence as he emerges from his legal troubles and returns to the hedge-fund world with Point72 Asset Management.
A visitor stands in front of a painting entitled 'Masterpiece,' during a press preview of 'Lichtenstein, a Retrospective' at the Tate Modern on February 18, 2013 in London.
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A visitor stands in front of a painting entitled 'Masterpiece,' during a press preview of 'Lichtenstein, a Retrospective' at the Tate Modern on February 18, 2013 in London.

Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen is back — and he's spending bigger than ever.

An avid art collector, Cohen paid $165 million earlier this year for a painting called "Masterpiece" by Roy Lichtenstein. The price is believed to make it among the 10 most expensive paintings ever sold.

The news was first revealed in a New York Times article and has been confirmed by CNBC.

The sale highlights Steve Cohen's continued confidence as he emerges from his legal troubles and returns to the hedge-fund world with Point72 Asset Management. It also shows that Cohen is as much an art trader as an art collector.

Cohen's collection is valued at well over $1 billion, but he is constantly buying, selling and upgrading. He sold a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting called "La Hara" through Christie's in May for $34.9 million, well over the $22 million to $28 million estimate.

With "Masterpiece," Cohen is getting one of the top pieces of one of the top postwar artists. "Masterpiece" is aptly titled — the giant Ben-Day dot painting was part of his first exhibit at Ferus Gallery in 1963 and helped introduce the world to Lichtenstein's iconic style based on comic-book panels.

In 2013, in the heat of his legal battles against insider-trading charges involving his hedge fund, Cohen paid $155 million for Picasso's "La Reve" painting, which he purchased from casino magnate Steve Wynn. Cohen paid over $137 million for Willem de Kooning's "Woman III" in 2006, and in 2010 he bought Jasper Johns' "Flag" for over $100 million. Cohen displays part of his collection at his firm's offices in Stamford, Connecticut, as well as his home in Greenwich.