Jeff Koons - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session New York Thursday, May 10, 2018 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    Sonnabend Gallery, New York
    Private Collection (acquired from the above)
    Christie's, New York, May 11, 2016, lot 513
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    “When we look into the animal-shaped mirrors, we see ourselves and the rest of the world passing by their flat surfaces. The shapes are about the combination of the baroque and the modern. The outline of the animals are both symmetrical and asymmetrical. Different polarities are all coming into play.”
    Jeff Koons

    Beginning in the 1980s with his celebrated Banality series, and continuing to this day, Jeff Koons’ ever-alluring practice explores universal ideas such as desire, beauty, and pleasure. In Monkey (Yellow), executed between 2004-2009, Koons invites the viewer inside his playful world. The smooth, reflective surface of the work is highly sensual, yet the innocent, convivial form of the monkey recalls childhood memory, encouraging the viewer to embrace the temptation and pleasure of looking.

    The monkey occupies a unique position in the canon of art history, a fact that Koons is not oblivious to. During the Renaissance, the monkey served as a symbol of evil, yet over time in Western culture, it evolved into a symbol of comic relief. The monkey is a recurring motif in the artist’s oeuvre, from his monumentally scaled, inflatable balloon animals, to his renowned sculpture of Michael Jackson with his pet chimpanzee, to his hanging inflatable monkeys from the Popeye series. In the present lot, Koons melds this motif with his interest in reflective surfaces, another defining feature of many of the artist’s most recognizable works. In discussing the importance of surface in his practice, Koons notes, “In a reflective surface, your existence is being affirmed. When you move, your abstracted reflection changes. The experience is dependent upon you; it lets you know that art is happening inside of you.” (Jeff Koons, quoted in Jeff Koons, “What Inspires Me Is Feeling”, Art In America, June 18, 2014, online)

    The approachable playfulness and seductive surface featured in the present lot exemplify Koons’ unique ability to both invite the viewer in active participation and challenge the traditional notions of how one should engage with high art.

Property from a Distinguished Private Collection


Monkey (Yellow)

signed and dated "Jeff Koons 2004-2009" on the reverse
mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating
59 1/2 x 70 3/4 in. (151.1 x 179.7 cm.)
Executed in 2004-2009, this work is 1 of 5 unique variants.

$350,000 - 450,000 

Sold for $375,000

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 16 May 2018