Jeff Koons’ ‘Rabbit’ Breaks World Record, Selling for $91 Million
A Jeff Koons sculpture sold for $91.1 million at Christie’s in New York on Wednesday, setting the record for most expensive sale of work by a living artist.
“Rabbit” was bought for $91,075,000 by Robert Mnuchin (father of the Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin), according to the BBC. It sold for about $20 million more than its estimated price.
Koons’ studio created the 41-inch stainless steel piece in 1986. There are three other castings of “Rabbit,” all currently in museum collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, The Broad Art Foundation in Los Angeles, and the National Museum of Qatar.
The sale cements Jeff Koons as one of the most expensive artists alive today — although opinion of his work differs. According to Christie’s, “Rabbit” has been called “cute, sinister, cartoonish, imposing, vacuous, sexy, chilling, dazzling and iconic.”
It is not the first time that a Koons work has set the record for most expensive piece of art by a living artist. Although the previous record-holder was David Hockney (his “Portrait of an Artist” sold for just over $90 million at Christie’s in November), before that, “Balloon Dog (Orange)” held the record for five years, selling for $58 million in 2013.
Still, Koons has yet to rival the prices that the work of a dead artist can sell for.
The most expensive art sale ever was in 2017, when “Salvator Mundi” by Leonardo Da Vinci sold for $450.3 million. To this day, art historians still question the authenticity of the piece. It was supposed to be shown at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, but the painting appears to have “disappeared” since its sale, according to the New York Times.