May 15 (UPI) — A rabbit sculpture by Jeff Koons sold for $ 91 million on Wednesday night at Christie’s in New York, the most paid for an artwork by a living artist.
The purchase was part of the auction house’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale. In all the sale totaled $ 538,971,750
Christie’s had described the 1986 sculpture by the 64-year-old Koons, as “one of the most iconic works of 20th-century art” on its website.
Initially, Christie’s had estimated that Koons’ faceless Rabbit would sell for between $ 50 million and $ 70 million. The winning bid was $ 80 million and after auction fees came in at $ 91,075,000.
The sale breaks the record set six months ago, also at Christie’s: $ 90.3 million for David Hockney‘s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures, according to CNN. The British painter’s artwork surpassed Koons’ record Balloon Dog (Orange) sculpture, which went for $ 58.4 million in 2013.
Koons, who lives and works in New York and York., Pa., molded three sculptures plus one artist’s proof. One is kept at the Broad Foundation in Los Angeles and another will go the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago by its owners, according to Christie’s.
The artwork auctioned off Wednesday comes from the collection of the late media mogul S.I. Newhouse. It has not been publicly exhibited since 1998 after it was first shown at Ileana Sonnabend’s gallery in New York in 1986.
But photos of the artwork have appeared on the cover of books, exhibition catalogs and magazines. Also, a blow-up version appeared in the 2007 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The stainless-steel sculpture is 41 inches tall.
“This stainless-steel sculpture is at once cute and imposing, melding a Minimalist sheen with a cartoonish sense of play,” read a sale preview on the auction house’s website. “It is crisp and cool in its appearance, yet taps into the visual language of childhood. Its lack of facial features renders it inscrutable, yet its form evokes fun and frivolity.”
On Tuesday, a painting from Claude Monet‘s Haystacks series sold for $ 110.7 million at Sotheby’s Tuesday. It is the most expensive Impressionist artwork to sell at auction.