In the days after any auction week, speculation on who exactly bought some of the marquee works is always high. Indeed, in a profile in yesterday’s New York Times, the paper of record speculated as to who dealer Robert Mnuchin purchased the $91.1 million Rabbit by Jeff Koons for. While the most likely client is Steven A. Cohen, one name that circulated was Mitchell Rales.
Earlier today, Wall Street Journal reporter Kelly Crow wrote on Instagram about a conversation she had with Mitchell Rales backstage at the WSJ Future of Everything Conference, during which Rales, who has been listed on the ARTnews “Top 200 Collectors” list since 2002, told her that while he was not the buyer of the Koons work, he and his wife Emily had purchased a different record-setting work at last week’s auctions: Lee Krasner’s The Eye is the First Circle (1960) for their Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland, to the tune of $11.7 million.
Reached by phone by ARTnews, a representative for the Raleses and Glenstone confirmed the purchase to ARTnews.
When The Eye is the First Circle sold last week at Sotheby’s in New York, it shattered Krasner’s previous auction record of $5.5 million, which was set in 2017 at Christie’s New York. The piece is one of several by the artist’s large-scale works (it measures over 20 feet across) that she completed in the years after the death of husband and fellow Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock, as well as the death of mother. On May 30, the Barbican in London will open a hotly anticipated retrospective of Krasner’s work.