Arts / Museums

$70 Million Rabbit Captivates the Art World — and This Bunny Fever is Spreading

The Best Art Bunnies of All Time

BY // 04.19.19

As we hit Easter and Passover, the symbol of the season is none other than spring’s signature creature — the rabbit.

Read about how the wild and humble bunny became the holiday’s poster animal here.

While this time of year is all about bunnies bearing baskets brimming with dyed eggs, jelly beans, Peeps, and all manner of chocolates, one rabbit in particular will also have a big role in the contemporary art market in the weeks ahead.

The story is spun from the red-hot auction realm where the iconic collection of the late media mogul and art tastemaker S. I. Newhouse is on the block at Christie’s.

That would be none other than an emblematic work by today’s reigning Pop king and arguably the successor to Warhol — Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, a stainless steel rendition of a child’s balloon. The sculpture recalls an inflated version of a Bugs Bunny-inspired prize a kid might win at a carnival.

Rabbit also marked a watershed moment when it was created in 1986.

With its dual role as an art-historical disruptor and talisman of impeccable provenance art-world insiders have speculated that it might go as high as $70 million when the hammer goes down on the Newhouse collection on Wednesday, May 15 at Christie’s Rockefeller Center Manhattan HQ.

Natch this rabbit even gets its own video on the Christie’s site, one which emphasizes its saucy alien-like sex drive.

Old Master + a Classic Hare

Across the pond the action involves the rabbit’s cousin, a wild hare, which is among the most prized artworks in the collection of Vienna’s venerable Albertina Museum.

This watercolor from 1502, painted half a millennium ago by German Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer is rarely on view — about once a decade — due to its fragile state as a 500-year old work on paper.

See what makes this Dürer’s masterwork unique here.

Wild Hare soon will be one of the central works in the Albertina’s upcoming blockbuster exhibition on Dürer set to open September 20 and to remain on view through January 6, 2020.

Albrecht Dürer’s “Wild Hare,” 1502, is one of the top treasures in the collection of Vienna’s renowned Albertina Museum

For our picks for fave rabbits in interiors and artwork closer to home — including the wildest art car ride of all time — scroll through the slide show.

And learn the identity of the two lapins that gave inspiration to this post.

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