Jeff Koons was born in York Pennsylvania in 1955 and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Maryland Institute of College Art. Koons has long been known as a good self-promoter who relies on shiny, kitschy images to gain public attention. When he created a large gold leaf statue of Michael Jackson holding his chimpanzee, Christopher Knight of the Times referred to it as, "the largest porcelain knickknack in the world." It is just this sort of criticism and controversy that has helped drive the artist's reputation as well as his sales figures.
In the 1980s while Koons was still trying to make a name for himself he worked as a stock broker on Wall Street. This led to the perception that the artist was a product of the decade's overindulgent society. Coupled with his marriage to a Hungarian porn star, divorce from the Hungarian porn star, and a messy child custody battle, Koons was soon viewed in a negative light and the prices of his work began to fall (it would have been a good time to buy!) However, Koons found a way to recover.
After not being invited to participate in Documenta, an exhibit in Germany, the artist decided to unveil his work Puppy (first image on page) close by so that those visiting the exhibit would still see it. Puppy was a forty foot high West Highland Terrier made completely of live flowers. Needless to say, it stole the show and helped Koons' career.
Today Jeff Koons' work records record sales. This is an interesting fact considering the U.S. economy is in a recession similar to the one following the 1980s. At the May 14 Sotheby's sale Koons' work entitled Caterpillar Chains (seen above) from 2003 was purchased for $5,921,000.
Although Caterpillar Chains sold in the millions, not all of Jeff Koons' work is inaccessible to the average art collector. The artist's smaller works, particularly those produced in a series can still be purchased in the low thousand. On May 17 Puppy, porcelain, 1998, numbered 1044/3000 and measuring 17 1/2" high (white dog sculpture above) will be sold at Rago Arts and Auction Center. The estimate for this piece is $2000-$3000. This estimate is a little lower than the sale price of the same work (different number) that sold on 4-4-08 at Ketlerkunt in Hamburg for $5298. If you can't attend the live auction you can place a bid through ebay here.
This is one of the shiny creations which is immediately recognizable a work by Jeff Koons. It will also be auctioned at the Rago auction and on ebay. The estimate is $3500-$4500. You can find that auction here.