Steve Mnuchin’s Dad Pays Record-Breaking $91 Million for ‘Rabbit’ Statue by Jeff Koons

Steve Mnuchin Rabbit Sculpture

Rabbit photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images, Steve Mnucihin Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Steve Mnuchin’s dad, Robert Mnuchin, paid a staggering $91 million for a 1986 stainless steel ‘rabbit’ statue by the artist Jeff Koons at a Christie’s auction in New York.

The rabbit sculpture is the most expensive work by a living artist ever to sell at auction, breaking the previous record that was set just 6 months ago by David Hockney’s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” which sold for $90.3 million. Koons reclaimed the record which he held when “Balloon Dog (Orange)” sculpture went for $58.4 million in 2013.

Balloon Dog

Jeff Koons’ “Balloon Dog (Orange)” is displayed October 31, 2013 at Christie’s in New York. The mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating is part of Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale scheduled for November 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert “MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION”

The statue was bought by Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin’s father, Robert Mnuchin, who is an American art dealer, banker and founder of the Mnuchin Gallery at 45 East 78th Street, New York. He headed up the trading division for Goldman Sach’s in the 1970s where he made a considerable fortune. Steve and his brother Alan Mnuchin followed in their father’s footsteps and became executives at Goldman Sachs as well.

The 1986 ‘rabbit’ sculpture by Jeff Koons is 1 of 3 in existence. One is homed at the Broad Foundation in Los Angeles and the other has been donated to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, according to Christie’s. The one auctioned to Robert Mnuchin was previously owned by S.I. Newhouse, the former owner of Condé Nast.

Koons is an American artist known for reproducing everyday items, such as the rabbit balloon animal, with stainless steel, mirrored surfaces. Christie’s described the piece on their website, “It is crisp and cool in its appearance, yet taps into the visual language of childhood,” adding, “Its lack of facial features renders it inscrutable, yet its form evokes fun and frivolity.”

Rabbit Jeff Koons

A security guard stands next to Jeff Koons’ “Rabbit” from the Masterpieces from The Collection of S.I. Newhouse at Christie’s New York press preview on May 3, 2019 as part of Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art evening sale. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION – TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION

The curator of the Jeff Koons Retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art told Artsy, “The rabbit, I would say, is one of the most famous works of Jeff Koons’s career, and in fact, one of the most famous artworks of the last 40 or 50 years,”

The sculpture was projected to sell for $70 million but exceeded expectations when Robert Mnuchin outbid several Asian investors.

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