Woman accidentally smashes Jeff Koons ‘balloon dog’ art piece worth $42,000

An art exhibition visitor got a shock when she accidentally knocked over a Jeff Koons piece worth $42,000 (£34,870).

Koons is a painter and sculptor who is known for creating art that takes inspiration from everyday objects.

Some of his most notable work includes a series of brightly coloured glass balloon animals.

On Thursday (16 February), one of the fragile sculptures was on display at a VIP preview at Art Wynwood in Miami.

According to witnesses at the scene, the curious visitor tapped the sculpture with her finger. It is thought by some that she poked it in order to see whether it was a real balloon.

Then, the statue fell off its pedestal and smashed into pieces on the ground, to the horror of all present. A short while later, gallery staff swept the shards up.

“I saw this woman was there, and she was tapping (the sculpture), and then the thing fell over and shattered into thousands of pieces,” the artist Stephen Gamson told a Fox News affiliate in the Florida city.

However, the unnamed woman, who is an art collector, will not have to pay the cost of the artwork.

One of Jeff Koons’ balloon dogs, on display at the London Art Fair in 2018 (PA)
One of Jeff Koons’ balloon dogs, on display at the London Art Fair in 2018 (PA)

Bénédicte Caluch, an art adviser with Bel-Air Fine Art, which sponsored the Koons piece, told the Miami Herald that the breakage was accidental and that insurance would cover the damage.

“It was an event!” Caluch told the newspaper, adding: “Everybody came to see what happened.”

Commenting to the New York Times, Cédric Boero, another associate of Bel-Air Fine Art galleries, said that the incident had the attention of all people at the event.

“Life just stopped for 15 minutes with everyone around,” he explained.

Boero also shared that the woman had told a colleague that she was “very very sorry” and “just wanted to disappear”.

The limited edition collection, which was previously made of 799 pieces, now stands as 798 following the accident.

“That’s a good thing for the collectors,” an amused Boero continued to the Times.