NEW YORK (Reuters) - After putting the finishing touches on his painting of Jon Corzine, the former CEO of the collapsed futures broker MF Global Holdings Ltd, artist Geoffrey Raymond took the portrait to what he called the “scene of the crime”: Wall Street.
Raymond stood outside the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday with his five-foot tall painting of Corzine to get those passing to write comments on the canvas about the banker who was New Jersey governor from 2006-2010 and CEO of Goldman Sachs back in the 1990s.
He has put it up for sale at a price of $85,000 for the next week, during what Raymond calls the “annotation period.” After that, he will raise the price north of $100,000.
It is a familiar routine for the artist. He has gained fame for painting troubled Wall Street figures, including former Bear Stearns’ CEO Jimmy Cayne and former Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld, and then annotating the portraits with comments collected from the public.
“When you stand in front of the stock exchange, it’s this huge tourist attraction,” Raymond said. “So you get this weird mix of financial people working in the Wall Street area and then a ton of Americans from all over the country. You get a broad spectrum of people.”
Raymond said passersby often have positive remarks about his subjects, but Corzine, who critics say drove MF Global into bankruptcy through bad bets on European debt, has proved an exception.
“Usually someone has something nice to say, but for Corzine I’ve noticed it’s been universally negative,” he said. “New Jersey residents have a sense of betrayal especially.”
Corzine, who resigned as CEO soon after the firm filed for bankruptcy last week, could not be reached for comment.
Raymond said he plans to put an image of the painting up on a few financial blogs to seek out more comments which he will transcribe onto the painting himself.
Raymond plans to hold onto the painting unless a buyer emerges.
“I don’t engage in marketing other than standing outside and handing people pens,” he said.