Marion Maneker0April 11, 2014

Mysterious Koons Popeye Appears at Sotheby’s for $25m

9141 Koons, Popeye

You’ll remember that a Koons Popeye statue was at the center of the row between Koons’s dealer Larry Gagosian and Ronald Perleman a few years ago. This statue does not seem to be the granite one that was at issue in the contretemps. But the appearance of this 7ft-tall work that is an edition of 3 (the other two are owned by whom? Gagosian and Steven Cohen, of course) does raise some questions about the consignor. The $25m estimate raises all sorts of other questions.


Artists, Collectors
Marion Maneker1September 05, 2013

Brant to Sell Koons Balloon Dog (Orange) at Christie’s in November for $35-55m


Carol Vogel has the announcement that Peter Brant is selling his version of Jeff Koons’s Balloon Dog at Christie’s this November with an estimate of $35 to $55m. The proceeds will create an endowment for Brant’s art foundation in Greenwich but the timing is somewhat defiant given Brant’s recent mixed success with selling Koons’s work even if there is a major retrospective coming.

But  the value in the orange balloon dog may lie as much with the work being held by other A+-list collectors. By getting out first, Brant may be monetizing their ownership of the work more than he is cashing in on the reputational boost a Koons retrospective might bring:

“Balloon Dog (Orange)” is one of a series of five, each in a different color, conceived by the artist in the early 1990s. Four celebrated collectors own the others: Steven A. Cohen, the hedge-fund billionaire, has a yellow one; Eli Broad, the Los Angeles financier, owns a blue one; François Pinault, the French luxury goods magnate and owner of Christie’s, has the magenta version; and Dakis Joannou, the Greek industrialist, has his in red.

Inside Art: Koons Dog for Adoption (New York Times)

Marion Maneker1May 06, 2013

How the Top of the Top of the Contemporary Art Market Works (in 125 words or less)


Carl Swanson’s excellent New York Magazine cover story on Jeff Koons contains this succinct and accurate description of what happens in the narrow working space at the apex of the Contemporary art market:

The circle of collectors and dealers is so small and so awash in cash that the process can seem to an outsider a bit like a rigged game, in which a bad deal can be considerably more valuable than a good one. If you buy a giant balloon toy for $30 million, you may have spent a few million more than you had to or even expected to; but you’ve set the value of that work and also elevated the value of all of the balloon toys in your collection. Which is especially good, since there aren’t very many people who can afford to spend $30 million on a giant balloon toy, and those who can tend to take pleasure in cornering a market.

Jeff Koons Is the Most Successful American Artist Since Warhol. So What’s the Art World Got Against Him? (New York Magazine)

Marion Maneker2May 23, 2011

Jeff Koons's $50m Picasso Collection

Laura Gilbert has discovered a number of works owned by Jeff Koons on display at the Met in New York. In the process, she’s also discovered a website that appears to be a catalogue of Koons’s collection based upon works that are already known to be owned by the artist.

Working backward from the list, we find three Picasso’s that were bought at the height of the art boom for a combined total of $51.68m, a substantial amount of money even for wealthy artist like Koons.

Superstar Koons’ Sideline: Loaning Old Masters to the Met, Including the Dreadful. Meantime, 51 of His Own Holdings Appear Online (Art Unwashed)

Picasso, Deux Personnages (Christie’s)

Picasso, Dora Maar Tete de Femme, 1941 (Christie’s)

Picasso, Le Baiser (Sotheby’s)


Auction Results
Marion Maneker2May 11, 2011

Pink Panther in Perspective

The Master, Judd Tully, lays out the landscape on Sotheby’s disappointing Pink Panther sale. Even below the low estimate, the price still pushes the artist’s market along:

a Sotheby’s specialist defensively pointed out after the sale, the last “Pink Panther” to come to the market sold at Christie’s in 1999 to Peter Brant for a then-record $1.8 million against a presale estimate of $600-800,000. Last night’s “Panther” also crushed the previous high for a Koons’s porcelain, set at Sotheby’s New York in May 2008 when “Naked,” another “Banality” piece from 1988, sold for $9 million (est. $1.5-2 million). The new mark ranks as the third-most-expensive Koons at auction, trailing the giant, heavy metal “Balloon Flower – Magenta” from 1995-2000, which sold at Christie’s London in June 2008 for $26 million, and “Hanging Heart” (1994-2006), which sold at Sotheby’s New York in November 2007 for $23.6 million.

Excessive Estimates Dampen Enthusiasm at Sotheby’s $128 Million Contemporary Art Auction (


Marion Maneker0February 11, 2011

Christie's Koons Winter Bears

Marion Maneker0February 03, 2011

Small Shop Beats Big Artist Koons

The San Francisco shop Park Life has won its stare-down with Jeff Koons’s lawyers. Kate Taylor tells the epic drama:

On January 20, its lawyer, Jedediah Wakefield of Fenwick and West, working pro bono, sued Jeff Koons LLC in San Francisco federal court, asking the court to declare that Park Life wasn’t infringing on Mr. Koons’s i rights. “They very quickly indicated they weren’t interested in putting up a fight,” Mr. Wakefield said of Mr. Koons’s lawyers. Ultimately, Jeff Koons LLC agreed not to pursue the gallery for the sale of the bookends, and the gallery agreed not to indicate that the bookends were by Mr. Koons, which, Mr. Wakefield added, “they hadn’t done and weren’t going to do anyway.” As a result of the deal, he said, he was planning to file on Thursday for a dismissal of the declaratory judgment suit.

All Bark, No Bite: Settlement Reached in Balloon Dog Dispute (Arts Beat/New York Times)

Marion Maneker0February 03, 2011

Koons v. Originality

Jed Perl is no fan of the appropriationist idea in art. That doesn’t stop him from writing a strong précis of the argument on The New Republic’s site as well as offering his own uncompromising dismissal. The quote runs long to do justice to Perl, not appropriate The New Republic’s content. What’s worth noting is Perl’s ability to draw the Koons balloon-dog legal case into the Warhol authentication controversy, citing art historian Rainer Crone along the way:

Jeff Koons, when accused of copyright infringement, tends to settle out of court. One has the impression that he prefers writing a check to actually discovering what a judge or a jury might have to say. But in his heart of hearts Koons probably feels that if Poussin became Poussin by stealing from Titian and Raphael, why on earth is he being bothered by questions of copyright and fair use? With the balloon dog case, he has decided to go on the offensive. Crone’s argument that “the rejection of authorship” can be “an essential feature of authenticity and originality,” although absurd to some, is not so easily refuted. One can, if so inclined, certainly find support for this view in the history of Western art. Don’t the gorgeously impersonal, porcelain-like surfaces of Ingres’s greatest portraits suggest a rejection of authorship? [Read more...]

Marion Maneker0October 09, 2010

Corporate Koons Comes to Christie's

The big lots are coming out for the November Contemporary sales in New York with Daimler selling this Koons Balloon Flower (Blue) from the same series as Howard Rachofsky’s magenta edition which sold in London in 2008 for £12.9 million.

Christie’s is dialing it back from the boom years with an estimate that starts well below that price. The blue scuplture is estimated at between $12  and $16m and the proceeds, we are told, will go back into buying more art for the Daimler collection.

According to Bloomberg, there is a third-party guarantee on the work.

Daimler May Make $16 Million From New York Sale of Koons Balloon Sculpture (Bloomberg)

Marion Maneker0August 23, 2010

Koons Donates to Hometown Hospital

There’s a clever charity, RxArt, that puts art in the rooms where patients are undergoing the stress and fear of a CT scan. Mike Argento tells the story of how Jeff Koons came to donate work to a hospital where he’s from:

And while RxArt is happy with the artists it works with, it has always sought the great white whale of the modern art community — Jeff Koons.

“We’ve worked with some major artists in the past,” Sebastian said. “Jeff was the ultimate dream for us. We really wanted to work with Jeff.”

Koons — a Dover native — is, it almost goes without saying, huge. His work is shown around the world. His sculpture, “Hanging Heart,” sold in 2007 for $23.6 million, then the most ever paid for a work by a living artist. He broke that record the following year when another work, “Balloon Flower,” sold for $25.7 million. His work regularly sells for multiples in the seven figures and is featured in some of the world’s great art galleries. He is an institution.

It seemed daunting — a small nonprofit dedicated to cheering up hospitals getting one of the leading figures in modern art to donate some work to its cause. It turned out to be easier than they thought. [Read more...]