Discover art for sale. Buy and sell prints & editions online by Pop Art sensation Jeff Koons. Beginning his career in the 1980s, the media-obsessed artist is now one of the world's most rich and famous.
Request a free and confidential valuation today. We offer free market advice to all our members, with zero obligation to sell.
Site visits a month
CONTROL & PRIVACY
Submission takes less than 2 minutes & there's zero obligation to sell
Jeff Koon’s work looks at everything from consumerism to sex and celebrity - with his balloon sculptures giving new meaning to the term ‘POP’ art. He uses toys, inflatables, household items and luxury goods to explore the human experience within popular culture and the material modern world.
Born in 1955 in Pennsylvania, Jeff Koons began making art from a young age – at the age of nine, his copies of Old Masters were already being exhibited in his father’s second-hand furniture shop. He went on to study painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he met painter Ed Paschke, who had a significant influence on the younger artist’s style.
In 1977 Koons moved to New York, where he took a job working the membership desk of MoMA; however, by 1980, he was working as a broker on Wall Street, which allowed him to 'make exactly what art I wanted to make. And I would always know that I didn’t need the art market.'
Koons first began his Inflatables series in the late ’70s. Starting with a balloon animal, he would cast it in stainless steel that would be highly polished to create a mirror effect. His most famous example of this is perhaps the early Balloon Rabbit, though the inflatable theme continues to appear in his later works, such as the Celebration series.
Commenting on the Inflatables, Koons has said, 'I’ve always enjoyed balloon animals because they’re like us … We’re balloons. You take a breath, and you inhale, it’s an optimism. You exhale, and it’s kind of a symbol of death.' Since these first experiments, Koons has gone on to produce balloon monkeys, swans and flowers in this signature style.
By the mid-’80s Koons was becoming known for his Neo-Pop work and sensational style alongside a number of artists who were also exploring what it meant to produce art at a time when television, advertising, films and celebrities permeated every facet of society. He soon established a large studio – much like Warhol’s Factory – in SoHo, where around 30 assistants would fabricate his highly technical sculptures, such as the famous Equilibrium series of basketballs suspended in distilled water.
Koons’ work can be seen in a number of international collections and public spaces, from the Guggenheim in Bilbao, where his enormous Puppy sculpture stands guard in the museum’s courtyard, to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. His work has also been the subject of a number of important retrospectives which have helped drive demand for his pieces on the art market.
Despite appearing so early in his career, Koons’s Inflatables series is one of his most iconic. Another of Koons’s most famous works, Michael Jackson and Bubbles is a series of three life-size porcelain statues of the singer and his pet chimpanzee, produced by the artist in conjunction with traditional ceramic workshops in Germany and Italy.
Perhaps Koons’ most controversial series, Made In Heaven, saw the artist produce a number of photographs, inspired by Rococo and Baroque artists such as Boucher, Fragonard and Bernini, that depicted the artist and his then-wife Ilona Staller in sexually explicit poses.
In 2017, Koons collaborated with iconic French fashion brand Louis Vuitton on a series of bags that feature reproductions of his favourite Old Masters – from the Mona Lisa to Manet’s Le Déjeuner Sur L'Herbe – emblazoned with the original artist’s name in block capitals.
With his factory-like studio and his increasing fascination with the potentials for art in the age of mechanical reproduction, Koons inevitably draws parallels with the master of Pop, Andy Warhol. Much like Warhol was, Koons is fascinated with the relationship between media and reality, consumerism and desire.
In his early career, however, Koons was also fascinated by the figure of Salvador Dali, whom he met briefly as a teenager – he even used to sport a thin moustache like the Spanish Surrealist. This mix of Pop Art and Surrealism courses through his prolific oeuvre which sees him repeat and transform everyday objects into ridiculous proportions. Creating a touch of 'Alice in Wonderland' charm, Koons' work at the same time questions our addiction to the high polish of the commercial.
Throughout his career, Koons has employed a vast range of different techniques, from ceramic sculpture to photography. But certain stylistic choices appear in all of his works. The garish, souvenir style of Koons X Louis Vuitton works reflect a kitsch aesthetic that Koons has chased his entire career. In every instance, his work has been bold, colourful, and thought-provoking, tackling overly-familiar shapes, images, and subjects in a new way.
Themes of controversy and self-promotion tie much of his work together, reflecting critically on both the art world and society. For example, Koons produced his own ads to promote Michael Jackson and Bubbles in art magazines such as Art Forum, Art in America and Flash Art, in anticipation of the lack of critical support he would receive. He simultaneously began giving interviews in the third person to cultivate his extravagant public persona. His controversial Made In Heaven series was intended to advertise a made-up film on a single billboard commissioned by the Whitney Museum in 1989 – a move that would maximise both public exposure and reaction.
While living in New York and working at MoMA, Koons began mingling with established artists at the CBGB and Mudd Club, and quickly became part of the East Village Art Scene, a movement that embraced counterculture art forms. The Neo-Expressionism, Neo-Geo, and Neo-Pop of the East Village all influenced his work, particularly his first Inflatables. His work as a stockbroker then funded his early original works, which were exhibited in Manhattan.
Koons has always set his work aside from traditional criticism, believing that there are no wrong interpretations when it comes to art. The materialist subjects and images used in his works have fuelled much of the negative criticism of his works and prevented many from fully appreciating them.
Koons continues to live and work in New York City, with a studio in Hudson Yards, working alongside a team of assistants. He considers himself the ‘ideas man’ of the massive production operation that goes on behind-the-scenes to produce his art.
Mixing art, commerce and culture has not only made Koons one of the world’s most famous artists but also one of the world's richest.
In May 2016, his Rabbit broke the auction record for work by a living artist after selling for $91 million, beating David Hockney. Before this, Koons was a regular record-breaker, setting the previous record of $58.4 million with Balloon Dog (Orange) at the Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York.
Despite these record-breaking auction sales, Koons has always strived to keep his work accessible. So, throughout his career, Koons has released many small sculptures and signed prints with much more affordable prices.
Image © Christie's / Rabbit © Jeff Koons 1986
The work of ‘King of Kitsch’ Jeff Koons is well-known for attracting staggeringly high auction prices. The sale of Rabbit (1986) at Christie’s New York in May 2019 is a case in point; at the time it was the most expensive work of art ever sold by a living artist, realising a sale price of over $91 million. The stainless steel sculpture, 1 of an edition of 3, was sold by the estate of the late magazine publisher and heir to Condé Nast, Samuel Irving Newhouse Jr. The work was bought up by hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen, the owner of the New York Mets baseball team.
Image Christie's Balloon Dog (Orange) Jeff Koons 1994
With the appearance of a balloon’s soft and malleable surface, the monumental stainless steel sculpture Balloon Dog (Orange) was created by American artist Jeff Koons in 1994. Part of Koons’s Celebration series, it realised an enormous $58,405,000 at auction at Christie’s New York in November 2013. Along with another of the artist’s other sculptural works, Rabbit (1986), which sold for over $91 million in 2019, Balloon Dog (Orange) broke the record for the highest auction price for a work by a living artist. Purchased by an unknown telephone buyer, Balloon Dog (Orange) was once owned by publishing tycoon Peter Brant.
Image © Christie's / Tulips © Jeff Koons 1995
A large-scale metallic sculpture in the form of a bunch of cartoon-like flowers, Tulips (1995) belongs to Jeff Koons’s Celebration series. Measuring two metres tall and five metres wide, Tulips (1995) sold for a similarly monumental $33.6 million in 2012 at Christie’s auction house in New York.
Started in 1994, the Celebration series marked the aftermath of Koons’s split from his Hungarian-Italian wife, Ilona Staller. A subject of the artist’s highly controversial Made In Heaven (1990) photography series, first shown at the 1990 Venice Biennale, Staller took the pair’s newly-born son to Italy with her after a breakdown in their relationship. In an attempt to convince his young family to return to the US, Koons commissioned a series of sculptures representing life’s milestones.
Image © Christie's / Jim Beam – J.N. Turner Train © Jeff Koons 1986