Jeff Koons 'Rabbit' sculpture sets €81.4 million record at sale

Jeff Koons 'Rabbit' sculpture sets €81.4 million record at sale

A 1986 Rabbit sculpture by American pop artist Jeff Koons sold for US$91.1 million (RM380 million) in NY yesterday, a record price for a work by a living artist, Christie's auction house said.

In the past five years, the highest price paid for a Koons sculpture at auction was US$22.8 million, for the coloured aluminium sculpture Play Doh, according to the Artnet database of salesroom prices.

The sale breaks the record set at Christie's six months ago - $90.3 million for David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures). On Tuesday, one of the few paintings in Claude Monet's celebrated "Haystacks" series that still remains in private hands sold at Sotheby's in NY for $110.7 million (£80m) - a record for an Impressionist work. Previously, Koons held the distinction when his orange Balloon Dog sold for $58.4 million in 2013.

The sculpture was projected to sell for $70 million but exceeded expectations when Robert Mnuchin outbid several Asian investors.

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The sale of Koons' 1986 "Rabbit" at Christie's Wednesday was the most expensive work by a living artist ever sold at auction. One is kept at the Broad Foundation in Los Angeles and another has been promised to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago by its owners.

The artwork auctioned Wednesday comes from the collection of late media mogul S.I. Newhouse. Its lack of facial features renders it wholly inscrutable, but the forms themselves evoke fun and frivolity, an effect heightened by the crimps and dimples that have been translated into the stainless steel from which it has been made.

More than 50 other artworks were sold at the evening sale, generating a total of nearly $540 million.

Jeff Koons became a leading figure in New York's art scene in the 1980s.

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