Christie’s New York announced that it will be presenting 11 extraordinary works from the famous collection of Samuel Irving “S.I.” Newhouse Jr., expected to bring in over $130m. The amount will of course be led by the iconic Jeff Koons Rabbit sculpture, which could beat the artist’s auction record of $58.4m with it’s $50-70m estimate.
S.I. Newhouse Jr., who passed away in 2017 at the age of 90, was an American heir to a large magazine and media business. Along with his brother Donald, he owned Advance Publications, founded by their late father in 1922, whose subsidiaries include Condé Nast (publisher of Vogue, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker), several newspapers, cable companies and television studios. The late media mogul kept a highly impressive art collection that spanned many eras and art movements.
One item heading to auction is Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, cast in 1986 in an edition of three. The other two Rabbits are at the Broad Foundation in Los Angeles and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, respectively.
Newhouse bought the sculpture in 1992 for $1m but it now carries an estimate 50-70x that price.
A sumptuous still bowl of fruit by Cézanne (c1888-90), which Newhouse purchased way above its estimate (he was a relentless collector) for $29.5m in 1999, is another front runner of the collection, carrying a $40m estimate.
Vincent Van Gogh’s Arbres Dans Le Jardin de L’Asile will also be amongst the sale, with a $25m estimate. Other pieces include Andy Warhol’s Little Electric Chair, from Warhol’s Death and Disaster series, carrying a $6-8m estimate.
At the unveiling of the pieces, Newhouse’s family art adviser Tobias Meyer said: “SI was intensely curious. He read, he looked, he learned, and he was happy to see new things. He was also happy and comfortable in the presence of greatness . . . whatever that greatness was: architecture, writing or painting.”