Image: Jeff Koons's Iconic 'Rabbit' sells for $91,075,000 making Koons the most expensive living artist, Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, Christie's New York, 15 May 2019
In the 33 years since it was first shown at Ileana Sonnabend’s gallery in New York, many thousands of words have been written about Jeff Koons's controversial, stainless-steel Rabbit. In the debates that have raged it has variously been described as cute, sinister, cartoonish, imposing, vacuous, sexy, chilling, dazzling and iconic.
Those inside Christie’s Rockefeller Center saleroom were treated to a new chapter in the story, however, as this gleaming, 41-inch tall bunny sold for $91,075,000 (including buyer’s premium) — a new world auction record for a work by a living artist.
Jeff Koons's Iconic 'Rabbit' sells for $91,075,000 making Koons the most expensive living artist, Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, Christie's New York, 15 May 2019
Rabbit was one of 11 works offered during 20th Century Week from The Collection of S.I. Newhouse. ‘On behalf of the family and myself I want to express our gratitude for the great work Christie’s has done,’ said Tobias Meyer, adviser to the Newhouse family, after the total for the grouping reached $216,287,500. ‘We are delighted with the results.’
Jeff Koons (b.1955), Rabbit, executed in 1986. This work is number two from an edition of three plus one artist's proof and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist. Stainless steel. 41 x 19 x 12 in (104.1 x 48.3 x 30.5 cm). Sold for $91,075,000 on 15 May 2019 at Christie’s in New York © Jeff Koons
The Koons was in good company: the post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale totalled $538,971,750 / £480,433,313 — 91 per cent sold by lot and 95 per cent by value — and saw records set for a number of other leading artists.