Art collector and patron Agnes Gund sold a prized 1962 Roy Lichtenstein “Masterpiece” for a whopping $165 million, disclosing she parted with the painting to create a fund that supports criminal justice reform and seeks to reduce U.S. mass incarceration, the New York Times reports. The new Art for Justice Fund will start with $100 million of the proceeds from the Lichtenstein (which was sold to the collector Steven A. Cohen through Acquavella Gallery).
“This is one thing I can do before I die,” said Gund, 78. “This is what I need to do.” Together with the Ford Foundation, which will administer the fund, Gund has asked other collectors to do the same, in the hopes of raising an additional $100 million over the next five years. The undertaking is noteworthy, not only for the amount of money involved, but also because Gund is challenging fellow collectors to use their artworks to champion social causes at a time when the market has made their holdings more valuable than ever.