Art

Jeff Koons “Rabbit” Sculpture Sets Record With $91.1 Million Sale

The bunny likeness's shiny stainless steel matches it's pretty penny price tag

Jeff Koons' "Rabbit"
Jeff Koons' 1986 sculpture "Rabbit." (Flickr, Jeff Romero)
By Ariel Scotti / May 16, 2019 9:46 am

A sculpture of a rabbit designed by Jeff Koons is now the most expensive work ever sold by a living artist after it went for a whopping $91.1 million at auction on Wednesday.

The bidder who decided to drop such a pretty penny, the art dealer Robert E. Mnuchin, ironically, is the father of the man in charge of America’s money — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the New York Times reported.

The ridiculously ritzy rabbit — sold via Christie’s from the collection of the magazine publisher S.I. Newhouse Jr., who died in 2017 — was created by Koons in 1986. Made of shiny stainless steel, the sculpture was “inspired by a child’s inflatable toy,” according to The Times.

“I always thought it would be in the pantheon,” said art dealer Jeffrey Deitch. “It was instantly embraced by artists and cultural critics, and it’s kept its resonance for all these years.”

The sale is a validation of sorts for Koons and his work since there appeared to be a decline in demand for the pieces he was producing. The highest price paid for one of his sculptures — a colored aluminum sculpture named “Play Doh” —  since 2014 was only $22.8 million, a paltry figure by comparison.

Koons has a knack for staying in the news that other artists don’t possess, often for much less savory reasons like being found guilty of copying other artists last year. Koons also appeared to have insulted the entire country of France when he presented Paris with an overly upbeat “Bouquet of Tulips” sculpture in 2016 after the city was hit by a wave of terror attacks. But like they say, controversy sells. In the case of Koons, it sells for a lot.

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