Cattelan’s Hitler statue sells for surprising $17m

Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Cattelan’s Hitler statue sells for surprising $17m

The piece “Him”, by Maurizio Cattelan, sold for $17.2 million after a 5-minute bidding war. Lifelike yet caricaturesque, Cattelan’s sculpture sold over its projected range, also surpassing the artist’s previous auction record of $7.9 million.

Cattelan’s Hitler statue sells for surprising $17m

The piece “Him”, by Maurizio Cattelan, sold for $17.2 million after a 5-minute bidding war. Lifelike yet caricaturesque, Cattelan’s sculpture sold over its projected range, also surpassing the artist’s previous auction record of $7.9 million.  

The controversial piece formed a part of Christie’s “Bound to Fail” themed auction, curated by Loic Gouzer, Christie's deputy chairman of post-war and contemporary art. According to Mr. Gouzer, the themed auction "shines a spotlight on works that have purposefully pushed the envelope of what the art market would be willing to call 'successful' in the pursuit of creating something new and ground-breaking."

In previous exhibitions, the piece has been described as a “senseless provocation”, an accusation that is not unfamiliar to the artist. However, this particular piece did not leave Mr. Cattelan unaffected, to the extent that he considered destroying it.

Following the surprise of the staggering sale, interest turned towards the buyer. The winning bidder chose to remain anonymous, leading to speculation that François-Henri Pinault, majority share holder of Christie’s, may have placed the bid to ensure the sale. 

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Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

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