Public Relations or works for sale? It’s hard to discern which motive drives Jeff Koons’s decision to loan three of his Old Master works to the Parisian Tableau art fair to be held in the Palais de la Bourse November 4-8 this year. Judging from the publicist’s copy, Koons wants to be admired for his taste in French painters:
Jupiter and Antiope or Venus and Satyr by Nicolas Poussin (1584-1665), Young girl holding two puppies by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806) and Femme nue or Woman with a Parrot by Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) are the three alluring works that were selected from Jeff Koons’ collection to show in Paris.
Like many avant-garde artists, Koons aspires to emulate the standards of the Old Masters and has always deeply engaged with the history of art. Born in York, Pennsylvania, in 1955, he painted copies of Old Masters and sold them in his father’s furniture store before studying art at Baltimore and Chicago. He has collected throughout his professional life and, while he has always bought the work of high-profile contemporary artists, more recently he has focused on Old Master and 19th century works. As with these three ravishing paintings, many of the works in Koons’ collection share a preoccupation with the female body and sexuality which is often seen in his own work.