Jeff Koons: Art for Sale on Deodato Arte - Provocative and unmistakable, Jeff Koons is one of the undisputed protagonists of the contemporary art world. Born in 1955 in York, Pennsylvania, he has explored the concept of consumerism and celebrity with works that often border the scandalous. His best-known series include the stainless steel sculptures Balloon Animals and the Gazing Ball and Antiquity series.
In 2019, a 1986 Rabbit by Koons fetched $91 million at auction, making him the world's highest-priced living artist.
Jeffrey Koons, better known as Jeff Koons was born in Pennsylvania on January 21, 1955. From an early age he approached the world of art at the encouragement of his parents. He thus began to devote himself to and study art in its most traditional sense.
In the second half of the 1970s he attended the prominent Art Institute of Chicago for two years, where he had the opportunity to take classes with the well-known teacher and painter Ed Pasche.
After graduating from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Batilmora, he moved to New York City in 1977, where he abandoned the traditional mode of painting, thus embracing the conceptual art movement and a more current and cheerful style. During this period he draws inspiration from particular artists such as Martin Kippensberger and Robert Smithson.
J. Koons made his debut as an artist in 1980 when he exhibited at the New Museum in New York with the installation The New. The artwork consists of simple vacuum cleaners that, deprived of their normal function, become works of art.
It is from this episode that the association Jeff Koons - Pop Art begins to spread: evident is, in fact, the reference to Andy Warhol, which will remain a constant in the entire artistic production of Koons.
Even today, in fact, the artist is generally referred to as Andy Warhol's successor and continuer of pop art and is also often associated with Marcel Duchamp, whose ready-made technique he reinterprets.
In 1991 Jeff Koons married Ilona Staller, aka "Cicciolina," a well-known porn star. From this relationship was born the famous series of works Made in Heaven, in which the protagonists are precisely the couple portrayed in erotic positions. The aim pursued by the artist with this series of works is to blend art with life, a trend in vogue in twentieth-century art. For this reason, Jeff Koons seeks to fuse desire and innocence together. The series is also exhibited at the 1990 Venice Biennale.
During these years, the artist also creates the famous work Puppy. This is a large-scale sculpture depicting a dog and made using about 70,000 flowers. The result is a 13-meter-high work completely made of colorful flowers. The artist's aim with this work is to communicate a message of love and happiness. The subject of the sculpture is also complicit: the dog, in fact, has always been an animal that evokes feelings of joy and love.
Throughout his career, Koons has expressed himself through the use of a wide range of techniques, such as sculpture, painting, installation, and photography, and the use of different materials, including pigments, plastics, inflatables, marble, metals, and porcelain.
Jeff Koons makes use of a very distinctive and unique style in his works. The themes addressed are those of Pop Art, the American way of life and increasingly uncontrolled consumerism. These themes take shape in Jeff Koons' works through the taking of everyday objects whose banality is exploited by Koons to turn them into icons of mass culture.
Although in the process of making art Koons is inextricably linked to mass culture and consumer society, the artist has at the same time an ambiguous relationship: on the one hand mass culture remains his main source of inspiration, while on the other hand his works express a rather explicit critique conducted with intelligent irony toward the banality and superficiality of consumerism.
What is therefore striking about Jeff Koons is his contradictory nature, his ability to express an edgy critique of modern society and the American way of life using the very tools that nourish this system: the artist desecrates that society that has made him (and continues to make him) rich and famous.
In the contemporary art world, Jeff Koons, known worldwide for his kitschy style artworks, is considered an icon of the neo-pop style. He is also the most important and influential living artist in the art world.
Some of Jeff Koons' most famous works are definitely the sculptures. The Celebrations Sculpturesseries is considered the most iconic.
Featuring sculptures of enormous size, reaching up to 4 meters in height, made of stainless steel and covered with a colorful paint lacquer, this series has been successful all over the world. This is especially true of the balloon dog sculpture, which has always been considered the artist's most iconic subject. The figure of artist Jeff Koons is thus universally consecrated.
The sculptures owe their name Celebrations to two concepts that Koons Jeff wanted to develop: the more general one of celebrating birthdays or other holidays and the more specific one of celebrating life. Hence the decision to use cute animal shapes made from colorful balloons as the subjects of these works.
Having become symbols of lightheartedness and the happiness that characterize the childhood years, the sculptures in the Celebrations series are:
However, with his Sculptures Jeff Koons not only wants to evoke the period of childhood and its cheerfulness, but also to propose an art that does not intimidate the viewer but makes him an active participant. Here, the reflective surfaces of his sculptures aim to do just that: to make the viewer become an integral part of the work through the reflection of his figure on the work itself.
Artist Jeff Koons then decided to repurpose his famous Balloons in smaller sizes. Thus was born a new series of sculptures, made in porcelain, which faithfully echo the subjects and language already present in the well-known Celebrations Sculptures.
The Balloon Dog is J. Koons' most famous subject. An undisputed symbol of childhood and birthday parties, the Balloon Dog actually has a second, deeper meaning. As stated by the artist Koons himself, the dog is also a Trojan Horse "for the whole body of the artwork"(Jeff Koons).
For Koons Rabbit is the subject resulting from a memory related to his childhood. In the small Pennsylvania town where the artist grew up there was a custom of placing in one's backyard various objects related to the particular time of year, including small inflatable rabbits.
Artist Jeff Koons was always impressed by this tradition because it was capable of bringing joy and cheer to anyone who saw these objects. With the same goal of bringing a sense of happiness to viewers through his artwork Koons decided to reproduce the rabbit.
Highly prized among Jeff Koons' works is the Swan. First made at the age of 9, the subject of the Swan takes on a dual meaning depending on the angle from which the sculpture is viewed. Viewed from the front, the work evokes the form of a totem and, in particular, the mighty figure of a man. However, it is enough to move to the side for the work to transform, taking on the features of the female figure distinguished by grace and elegance.
The Monkey, a subject studied for a long time by the artist, is intended to emphasize the deep connection between man and primates. In his artworks Jeff Koons explores this theme by elevating the Monkey to an allegorical figure to communicate often conflicting messages ranging from the pursuit of pleasure to innocence.
Today, artist Jeff Koons is considered one of the world's richest and most sought-after artists in the art market. The value of Jeff Koons' works has increased dramatically in just a few years.
“Balloon dog (Orange)”, the world-famous steel sculpture representing a dog made out of balloons made in 1990 in five different colors, in fact was sold in Christie's November 12, 2013 auction in New York for $58,4 million. Never until that time did a living artist's work reach that amount. This auction set the biggest record for a living artist by making Jeff Koons the highest paid living artist in the world.
However, this record was broken a few years later, on November 16, 2018, by David Hockney. His famous painting Portrait of an Artist was auctioned for $90,3 million. Hockney's record was short-lived. On May 15, 2019, Jeff Koons's Rabbit sculpture was auctioned for $91,1 million. The work had already been purchased, for the first time, in 1986 by Robert E. Mnuchin, art dealer and father of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Discover more about Jeff Koons: Prices and Value for Jeff Koons Balloon Works by clicking on "Show Price" inside the artwork.