A KAWS painting sells for US$14.7 mil, setting new auction record for the artist

KAWS, ‘The KAWS Album’ (2005). (AFPrelaxnews pic)

A painting by the famed American street-artist, “The KAWS Album,” fetched nearly HKD 116 million (nearly US$14.8 million) at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong on Monday.

The artwork had been tagged with a pre-sale estimate of HKD 6-8 million (between US$765,000 and US$1 million).

Sold for more than 14 times its high estimate, “The KAWS Album” eclipses the previous auction record of the artist, also known as Brian Donnelly, of US$2.7 million – which was set last November in New York.

The painting is a riff on a “Simpsons” parody of the Beatles’ famous 1967 album cover for “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

It features “Kimpsons” characters, who have the street artist’s signature Xs drawn across their eyes.

The artwork was originally commissioned by Japanese streetwear entrepreneur and record producer Tomoaki “NIGO” Nagao.

The collector met KAWS in 1996 and became an early supporter of his work.

“The KAWS Album” was the top lot of the “NIGOLDENEYE® Vol. 1” auction, which featured NIGO’s personal art collection.

Other highlights of the sale include KAWS’s “UNTITLED (KIMPSONS)” and “UNTITLED (KIMPSONS #3),” sold respectively for US$2.7 million and US$2.6 million.