Monet and Koons Set World Records in Art Auctions

Claude Monet's Meules, Jeff Koons' Rabbit

A painting by Claude Monet, one of the Meules (Haystacks) series, depicting rural life near his home in the Normandy region, has set world records by selling for $110.7m (£85.7m). Shortly after, a sculpture by US pop artist Jeff Koons sold for $91.1m (£71m), breaking the record price for a work by a living artist.

Claude Monet: Meules, 1890 – image courtesy Sotheby’s

The Monet painting from 1890 was the first Impressionist work to achieve over $100m. It was last auctioned in 1986, when it fetched just $2.5m. A Sotheby’s press release said the painting is now the ninth-most expensive work ever sold at auction. Its unnamed buyer reportedly beat five other bidders at the sale in New York.

There are 25 paintings in Monet’s Haystacks series, mostly now on display in art galleries around the world. This is one of only four of his works to be auctioned this century.

Jeff Koons – Rabbit, 1986 – image courtesy Christie’s

Rabbit, a sculpture by US pop artist Jeff Koons, sold for $91.1m (£71m), breaking the record price for a work by a living artist. Christie’s in New York sold the 41in (104cm) steel cast of an inflatable, created in 1986, for more than $20m over its estimated price, again to an unnamed buyer. It beats the previous record for a work by a living artist set by David Hockney in November 2018.

On its website Christie’s described Rabbit as “cute, sinister, cartoonish, imposing, vacuous, sexy, chilling, dazzling and iconic”. It is one of Jeff Koons’ most well-known pieces. The US artist’s sculptures have provoked controversy for decades since he emerged as a leading figure in New York’s art scene in the 1980s.

See also:

Auction Highlights: Basquiat, Monet & More

Works by Claude Monet Set to Be in the Tate Britain’s Exhibition

Controversial Artist Jeff Koons Brings His Neo-Pop Masterpieces to the Ashmolean



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