A playful rabbit sculpture by Jeff Koons has become the most expensive work by a living artist ever to sell at auction.
The American artist’s “Rabbit,” a stainless steel figure measuring just over 3 feet tall, sold for more than $91 million Wednesday evening at Christie’s in New York, smashing auction estimates.
Jeff Koons with his record-breaking sculpture in 2009. Credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
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.”
The American artist’s ‘Rabbit’ sold for more than $91M. Credit: Courtesy Christie’s
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.