Amid the expectations for KAWS’s art work at the major auction houses where the artist is now an Evening sale staple, Heritage Auctions in Dallas is holding the sale of a major collection of KAWS’s toys the basis of much of his fame and appeal. Ronnie Pirovino has most of the vinyl toys KAWS produced and many of the wood and other toys from the artist’s oeuvre.
Already considered a watershed sale by the KAWS collecting community, The Toy Collection of Ronnie K. Pirovino will make history with Heritage Auctions Nov. 7 when the master collector opens his cabinet for the world’s first stand-alone sale of works by the artist.
After becoming a critical figure in defining the “Art ‘Toy’” category, the auction includes most vinyl KAWS toy created from 1999 to present, and many toys made in wood and other mediums. The sale fulfills Pirovino’s wish to give fellow collectors access to the hobby’s most sought after works.
“Upon first glance, I was viscerally hit by the KAWS Companion’s homage to Mickey Mouse, one of my favorite icons as a child,” said Pirovino of his first encounter with the artist’s work. “The sculpture was both menacing and comical; both anchored in long-established pop culture, yet whimsical.”
Pirovino’s said the moment in 2003 launched what would become the largest and most important collection of KAWS toys in private hands. The internationally recognized 1999 Companion (est. $1,000-$1,500), one of Pirovino’s favorite pieces, highlights the artist’s most iconic works. A 2012 Astroboy ($1,500-$2,500), 2002 Accomplice (est. $6,000-$8,000) – his daughter’s favorite – and the 2005 Karimoku BE@RBRICK (est. $3,000-$5,000).
The breadth and depth features many sculptures that are unique in their own way: A set of Accomplice, 2002 (est. $6,000-$8,000), retains the original boxes with unique, original drawings personally added by KAWS to the front.
“We expect the sale to break multiple world records,” said Taylor Curry, consignment director in New York for Heritage Auctions. “Many of these items are coming up for the first, and possibly the last time, at auction.”
In addition to the Accomplices, many others works have special features or signatures (on the box or on the toy), including the 2002 Chum (Black) (est. $1,000-$1,500), 2006 Skull Kun (Glow in the Dark) (est. $600-$800) and the nearly impossible to own 2005 Companion (Bronze) (est. $3,000-$5,000). Another highlight is Permanent Thirty-Three Heads, 2008, (est. $4,000-$8,000), which were never released commercially.
In a surprising move, Pirovino is selling what KAWS collectors consider a seminal piece – the 2011 Companion Karimoku Version (est. $10,000-$15,000).
Additional highlights include:
- No Future Companion (Black Chrome and Silver), (est. $8,000-$12,000
- Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket (est. $2,000-$3,000)
- All three Star Wars collaborations, Darth Vader (est. $1,000-$1,500), Storm Trooper est. $1,000-$1,500) and Boba Fett (est. $1,000-$1,500)
Reaching out to the community, the entire auction will be on preview during at ComplexCon, Nov. 3-4 in Long Beach, California. To commemorate the landmark sale, Heritage Auctions is releasing a limited edition, hardcover auction catalog at ComplexCon as well.
Bidding is now open for the Nov 7 online auction of The Toy Collection of Ronnie K. Pirovino; the sale begins at Noon EST. High-resolution, close-up photographs of all lots are available online, as is a digital downloadable catalog.