Jeffrey Epstein’s art-world connections have been well-documented ever since he was convicted on sex trafficking charges in 2019, the same year he died by suicide while in jail. But intrigue surrounding his social network has only deepened since then, and a Wall Street Journal investigation published Wednesday revealed that he had planned meetings with at least a few powerful members of the art world.
The report, which was based on thousands of emails and documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal, said that Epstein had scheduled visits with artist Jeff Koons and the auction house Sotheby’s, as well as meetings with mega-collector Leon Black, a financier whose ties to Epstein were already known.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Epstein had been particularly close with Woody Allen, the acclaimed filmmaker who has been accused of sexually abusing his daughter. Allen and Epstein had planned to visit Koons’s studio in 2013, the documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal reveal.
Those documents also show that Epstein and Allen had planned a visit to Sotheby’s in 2017.
It’s not the first time that Epstein and Sotheby’s have been reported to have had a relationship. In 2020, prosecutors in the US Virgin Islands ordered Christie’s and Sotheby’s to turn over any documents related to their alleged dealings with Epstein.
Black, a former chairman of the Museum of Modern Art and a recurring figure on the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors list, has been widely accused of ties to Epstein. In 2021, Black resigned from the firm Apollo Global Management Inc. amid investigations into his donations to Epstein’s charity. He was subpoenaed as part of the investigation in the US Virgin Islands, and his art-collecting company is believed to have also paid millions of dollars to Epstein.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Epstein had planned more than 100 meetings with Black between 2013 and 2017, when he was still with Apollo.
Representatives for Koons’s studio and Sotheby’s did not respond to requests for comment. An Apollo spokesperson forwarded ARTnews to a representative for Black, who has not responded to a request for comment.