A sculpture of a silver “Rabbit” by American pop artist Jeff Koons sold for $91.1 million in New York on May 15 setting a record price for a work by a living artist, Christie’s auction house said.
The playful, stainless steel 104 cm high rabbit, regarded as one of the most celebrated works of 20th-century art, was sold for more than $20 million over its pre-sale estimate.
Christie’s said the sale made Koons the highest-priced living artist, surpassing the $90.3 million record set last November by British painter David Hockney’s 1972 work “Portrait of an Artist (Pool With Two Figures.)”
It was a return to the top for Koons, 64, whose "Balloon Dog (Orange)" for five years held the record for highest price reached at auction for a living artist after its 2013 sale for $58.4 million.
Wednesday's milestone came two years after Christie's in New York set the record for most expensive work of art known to have been sold with the sale of Leonardo de Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" for $450 million.
The identity of the “Rabbit” buyer was not disclosed.
The shiny, faceless oversized rabbit, clutching a carrot, is the second in an edition of three made by Koons in 1986.
“Few works of art of its generation can have the same instant recognisability: it has been on the cover of books, exhibition catalogues and magazines,” Christie’s described the piece of art.
The sale follows another record-setting auction price this week. 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 New York for $110.7 million - a record for an Impressionist work.