Jeff Koons’ “Rabbit” sculpture broke the auction sales record for work by a living artist on Wednesday, selling at Christie’s in New York for $91,075,000.
“Rabbit” had been estimated at $50 million to $70 million heading into the auction. A Christie’s representative initially confirmed the final price paid — gavel bid plus buyer’s premium — as $90.8 million, but the auction house later tweeted the final price as slightly more than $91 million.
The previous record holder was David Hockney’s 1972 painting, “Portrait of an Artist (Pool With Two Figures).” That work sold in November for $90.3 million. Before that, Koons’ steel sculpture “Balloon Dog (Orange)” held the record, selling in 2013 for $58.4 million.
Koon’s 41-inch-tall, stainless steel “Rabbit” is a multiple of three. The Broad museum in downtown Los Angeles owns one. The other is a promised gift from Stefan T. Edlis and Gael Neeson to Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
The “Rabbit” sale was part of a larger offering: 11 works from the collection of the late magazine mogul S.I. Newhouse Jr. On Monday, in the first of two evening sales, five of Newhouse’s Impressionist and Modern art works together brought in about $101 million. The Newhouse’s Vincent van Gogh landscape “Arbres dans le Jardin de L'asile,” and the Paul Cézanne still life “Bouilloire et Fruits” together brought in more than $99 million.
Wednesday night’s lots brought in about $115 million, Christie’s said.