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Wednesday, 16 May, 2001, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK
Jackson sculpture breaks record
Jeff Koons' Michael Jackson and Bubbles
Koons took the pose from a publicity photograph
A sculpture of Michael Jackson and his pet monkey Bubbles has fetched $5.6m (3.8m) at a contemporary art auction.

The bid at Sotheby's in New York set a new record for work by the artist Jeff Koons beating his previous high of $1.8m (1.3m).

Koons' piece was created in 1988 from porcelain and shows the superstar reclining with his arm around the monkey.

It was created from a publicity photograph for Koons' Banality series.

Koons is a controversial figure in the art world, and his previous exhibitions have featured toys and balloons, as well as a giant topiary puppy outside the Rockefeller Centre in New York.

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson: Attracts attention worldwide
Much of the American artist's work is conceptualised by himself but created by skilled craftsmen.

A new record was also set for the artist Gerhard Richter with the oil painting Drei Kerzen reaching $5.4m (3.8m).

The top lot of the New York sale was Jackson Pollock's Black and White/Number 6, 1951, which fetched $7.9m ($5.5m).

The anonymous bid far exceeded the auction house's high estimate of $4m (2.8m).

Five works by Andy Warhol were also included in the sale taken from his 1970s series of silk-screens entitled Ladies and Gentlemen.

Unsold

Warhol's Group of Five Campbell's Soup Cans sold for $3.7m (2.6m)

Works by Ellsworth Kelly, Martin Puryear and Ellen Gallagher also achieved record highs for the artists.

Despite record bids for five of the contemporary artists in the sale a quarter of the lots failed to sell.

The total amount raised was $45.3m (31.7m).

Sotheby's senior vice president for contemporary art blamed the this on "an unstable economic climate".

Three sculptures by Alexander Calder remained unsold.

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See also:

09 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Slices of Bacon sell for 3m
08 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Warhol's Ads on display
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