A stainless-steel rabbit by artist Jeff Koons fetched $91 million at Christie’s, establishing an public sale document for a residing artist.
The successful bid got here from artwork vendor Bob Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s father, who was within the gross sales room and mentioned he made the acquisition on behalf of a shopper.
Estimated at $50 million to $70 million, it was a part of a bunch of works consigned by the household of late media mogul Si Newhouse. The three-foot-tall inflatable silver bunny was provided throughout Christie’s postwar and up to date artwork night public sale Wednesday in New York.
For the previous two weeks, the piece occupied a temple-like rotunda at Christie’s, displayed in blazing white mild on a pedestal beneath an oculus.
For Alex Rotter, the rabbit represents the top of sculpture and the antithesis of “the proper man,” Michelangelo’s David.
“He’s younger, he’s muscular,” mentioned Rotter, chairman of postwar and up to date artwork at Christie’s. “He has lengthy arms, robust legs. He’s carved by one of many biggest artists of all time with a chisel, out of 1 block of the purest white marble. The top of this isn’t a pc display screen as a result of that’s not a carved determine. The top is a small bunny.”
The 1986 “Rabbit” was successful from the beginning. Newhouse purchased it in 1992 for about $1 million, a big sum on the time, in keeping with Rotter.
The worth at Christie’s, which incorporates the customer’s fee, returns Koons to the highest of the artwork world. Koons had been the costliest residing artist at public sale as just lately as November, when he was ousted by David Hockney, whose “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” offered for $90.three million.
Koons’s earlier public sale excessive was $58.four million for an orange balloon canine, additionally at Christie’s.