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Jeff Koons ‘Rabbit’ Smashes File for Work by a Living Artist

ImageJeff Koons’s “Rabbit” in stainless steel, sold at Christie’s New York for $91.1 million.CreditCreditvia Christie’sA shiny stainless steel sculpture created by Jeff Koons in 1986, inspired by a child’s inflatable toy, sold at Christie’s on Wednesday night for $91.1 million with fees, smashing the record at auction for a work by a living artist, set…

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Jeff Koons ‘Rabbit’ Smashes File for Work by a Living Artist

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Jeff Koons’s “Rabbit” in stainless steel, supplied at Christie’s Contemporary York for $91.1 million.Credit scoreCredit scoreby the usage of Christie’s

A luminous stainless steel sculpture created by Jeff Koons in 1986, impressed by a baby’s inflatable toy, supplied at Christie’s on Wednesday evening for $91.1 million with charges, smashing the file at auction for a piece by a residing artist, location correct closing November by David Hockney.

Robert E. Mnuchin, an art work dealer and the father of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, made the worthwhile narrate for Mr. Koons’s 1986 “Rabbit” from an aisle seat end to the front of the salesroom. He used to be seated end to Peter Brant, the collector and internal most museum-proprietor, and Jeffrey Deitch, the dealer.

It used to be the closing prize amongst six works supplied at Christie’s from the sequence of the journal publisher S.I. Newhouse Jr., who died in 2017. Estimated to elevate now not less than $50 million, this sculpture, made in an version of three and one artist’s proof, used to be the closing instance left in internal most fingers, per Christie’s.

The cost, surpassing the $90.2 million with charges achieved, all but again at Christie’s, for Mr. Hockney’s 1972 describe, “Portrait of an Artist (Pool With Two Figures),” confirmed how Mr. Koons’s steel sculptures earn change into the closing billionaire trophies produced all the map via the contemporary art work enhance of the 1980s and ’90s. The Hockney milestone came at the expense of Mr. Koons, the outdated file-holder, whose “Balloon Canines (Orange)” supplied at auction for $58.4 million in November 2013.

Critics identified that the “Rabbit” sculpture elegantly and enigmatically alludes to earlier items by such artists as Constantin Brancusi, Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol.

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The artist Jeff Koons, with an illustration of “Bouquet of Tulips” in 2016. He supplied it to the metropolis of Paris and the of us of France as a image of friendship. This would possibly maybe well in the slay earn a home at the Petit Palais in Paris.Credit scoreMichel Euler/Linked Press

“I constantly belief it would possibly maybe well be in the pantheon,” said Mr. Deitch. “It used to be straight embraced by artists and cultural critics, and it’s stored its resonance for all these years.”

This validation is your total sweeter for Mr. Koons, whose profession trajectory has been contradictory, controversial and uneven. In 2017, slowing demand for just a few of his extra most modern works necessitated a foremost downsizing of his studio. Auction prices for his most treasured sculptures earn also slumped. Since 2014, presumably the most most modern spike in gross sales of most modern art work, the ideal designate paid for a Koons sculpture at auction used to be $22.8 million, for the coloured aluminum sculpture “Play Doh,” per the Artnet database of salesroom prices.

Mr. Koons has been embroiled in matches accusing him of copying, and in 2016, he upset the French cultural establishment by giving Paris a colorfully upbeat “Bouquet of Tulips” sculpture, impressed by the Statue of Liberty, as a memorial to victims of most modern terrorist attacks in France.

“There are such quite loads of irregular, disconcerting aspects to Jeff Koons, his art work and his profession that it’s laborious to rather know the map one can technique” it, Roberta Smith wrote in the The Contemporary York Times, reviewing his retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2014, then its largest eye dedicated to a single artist.

His work ranges from the notorious photos that depict the artist in flagrante with his then-necessary other, Ilona Staller, identified in her porn-principal individual days as La Cicciolina, to knowingly kitsch sculptures esteem one among Michael Jackson with Bubbles, his pet chimpanzee, to his reflective, oversize “Rabbit” that “turns the hare actual into a predicament-invader of unknown origin,” Ms. Smith wrote.

In all, the six contemporary works from the Newhouse sequence raised $115 million Wednesday evening. On Monday evening, 5 Impressionist and modern works owned by Mr. Newhouse had raised $101 million. Ahead of this week, this team of 11 had been estimated at $130 million.

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Credit scoreRobert Rauschenberg Foundation/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY; by the usage of Christie’s

Other important gross sales included a Louise Bourgeois “Spider” forged in 1997, which supplied for $32 million, a file for the artist and the 2d-highest designate paid at auction for a piece by a girl.

On yarn of Christie’s supplied the 2 choicest property collections of the week, the sale used to be stuffed with traditional works by foremost names of American postwar and contemporary art work. The auction started with 11 works from the Robert B. and Beatrice C. Mayer family, primarily based in Chicago. Procuring straight from dealers in the 1960s, the Mayers amassed a formidable sequence of Pop Art.

“They had been necessary collectors, and they supplied early,” said David Nisinson, a collector and art work adviser in Contemporary York. “Christie’s had loads of fresh material from successfully-identified collectors that hadn’t been considered for years.”

The take of the Mayer works used to be Robert Rauschenberg’s 1964 silk-cowl describe, “Buffalo II,” evoking the turbulent political climate after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It supplied for $88.8 million with charges. The couple had bought the describe in 1965 from the Leo Castelli Gallery in Contemporary York.

“It’s a really necessary describe,” said Mr. Nisinson. “And Rauschenberg has been undervalued when put next with different artists.”

Most of Mr. Rauschenberg’s most innovative works from the Fifties and ’60s, particularly his trailblazing “Combines,” earn prolonged been held in museums and now not regularly ever appear in the marketplace. This early silk-cowl describe, stuffed with evocative imagery, is presumably the most necessary Rauschenberg to appear at auction in years. The outdated high for Rauschenberg had been $18.6 million in 2015, per Artnet. One other Mayer prize used to be Roy Lichtenstein’s “Kiss,” from 1962, which brought in $31.1 million.

Jacob Bernstein contributed reporting.

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