New York, May 16 A stainless-steel figure titled, “Rabbit” by American artist Jeff Koons has become the most expensive work by a living artist after it was sold for more than $91 million at an auction here, smashing previous records.
The just over 3 feet tall sculpture went under the hammer on Wednesday evening at the Christie’s auction house, reports CNN.
Christie’s initially estimated that Koons’ faceless “Rabbit” would sell for between $50 and $70 million. But the winning bid came in at $80 million which, after auctioneer’s fees, resulted in a final sale price of $91,075,000.
Prior to Wednesday’s sale, Christie’s had described the sculpture as “one of the most iconic works of 20th-century art”.
“It is crisp and cool in its appearance, yet taps into the visual language of childhood,” read a sale preview on the auction house’s website. “Its lack of facial features renders it inscrutable, yet its form evokes fun and frivolity.”
Koons’ 1986 sculpture is one from of an edition of three plus one artist’s proof. Another is kept at the Broad Foundation, in Los Angeles, while the third has been promised to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago by its owners, according to Christie’s.
The edition featured in Wednesday’s auction came from the collection of the late media mogul S.I. Newhouse. It has not been publicly exhibited for more than 30 years.
The new record comes just six months after David Hockney’s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” set a new benchmark for a living artist, when it sold for $90.3 million last November — also at Christie’s.
The British painter’s artwork had itself overtaken Koons’ “Balloon Dog (Orange)” sculpture, the previous record-holder, which went for $58.4 million in 2013.