American artist Jeff Koons made 799 porcelain sculptures of balloon dogs between 1994 and 2000 as part of his iconic series Balloon Dog. Recently, however, that number went down to 798 after a visitor knocked over one of the sculptures during Miami’s Art Wynwood art fair, and it got shattered to pieces.
The sculpture was displayed on a pedestal at the booth managed by the art gallery Bel-Air Fine Art and it didn’t have a protective cover.
According to art collector and artist Stephen Gamson, who spoke with The New York Times about the incident, one of the visitors tapped the art piece with its finger and knocked it over.
“It was kind of like a car accident on the highway, where people start looking and then there’s traffic, and then it becomes this big thing,” Gamson said.
Gamson even offered to buy the sculpture shards on the spot, seeing an opportunity to own a unique piece of art, but Bel-Air Fine Art representatives declined his offer.
Cédric Boero, who works for Bel-Air Fine Art, told the news outlet that the sculpture was covered by insurance. The pieces of the sculpture have been stored in a box and are waiting to get inspected by the insurance company. This also means that the visitor that knocked the sculpture over won’t be required to pay the damages.
Back in 2013, Balloon Dog (Orange) was sold for $58.4 million at an auction, making it the fourth most-expensive artwork sold by a living artist. However, the broken sculpture, standing at 16 inches tall and 19 inches long, was among the less valuable ones from the series, with an estimated worth of $42,000.