Destruction befell a Jeff Koons sculpture priced at $42,000 at the Art Wynwood fair in Miami last week after a visitor accidentally knocked over the work. The porcelain balloon dog work in blue, about 15 inches tall, was available with Bel-Air Fine Art galleries which runs 25 venues worldwide.
The district manager of Bel-Air Fine Art, Cédric Boero, tells The Art Newspaper: “It is heartbreaking to see such an iconic piece destroyed. However, the collector never intended to break the sculpture, in fact she never touched it with her hands. It was the opening cocktail [review], lots of people were on our booth, she gave unintentionally a little kick in the pedestal, which was enough to cause the sculpture to fall down.”
“This kind of thing unfortunately happens, which is why the work was covered by insurance. The pieces of the sculpture have been packed in a box by the staff of the fair in order to be stored waiting for the insurance expert to pass by. Some collectors offered to buy the shards; we are still receiving offers as we speak.”
The Wynwood-based artist Stephen Gamson, who witnessed the accident, offered to buy the broken pieces on the spot but tells us: “I’m waiting for the gallery to reach out to me regarding the purchase of the broken piece.” It is unclear if the gallery intends to sell the fragments. The sculpture was part of a limited edition which has now decreased from 799 to 798, according to the BBC.
Gamson filmed the accident which shows the sculpture remains littered across the floor; a bystander says that “this is now the new art installation” while another onlooker comments: “It’s not a Ming vase at least.” Gamson told The Art Newspaper: “I’m not sure if she [the visitor responsible] tapped it or bumped into it as it happened very fast.”
Koons’s orange balloon dog sculpture sold for $58.4m at Christie’s in 2013, setting a record at the time for the most expensive work by a living artist to be sold at auction.