Maurizio Cattelan’s statue of Hitler on his knees has broken auction records for a work by the artist. It was auctioned at Christie’s New York on Sunday for $17.2 million. The wax and resin statue entitled simply “Him” had been estimated to realise between $10 million and $15 million at the auction. The previous record for a work by Cattelan, who is 55, was $7.9 million. The statue depicting Hitler, the size of boy, on his knees in a gray woolen suit, with his hands clasped together as he gazes upward. Cattelan was recently commissioned to create a solid gold toilet for an installation in the restroom at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Loic Gouzer, Deputy Chairman, Post-War and Contemporary Art, remarked: “With Bound to Fail, we sought to push the envelope with an auction that emphasized artists and works that challenge the traditional notions of commercial success. The auction’s strong outcome was the result of enthusiastic bidding from a diverse group of collectors from all over the world. We were encouraged by the passionate response to works that have traditionally been overlooked or construed as challenging. Maurizio Cattelan’s, Him, set a world auction record for the artist when it sold for $17,189,000 after over five minutes of bidding. The depth of interest for this work speaks to its international notoriety, and its ability to breach the boundaries of fine art and popular culture, forcing the viewer to reconsider challenging questions about action and absolution. We were also very pleased with the number of auction records that were set for artists who are less frequently seen on the auction market, including Rebecca Horn, Paola Pivi, Neil Jenney, Olivier Mosset, Daniel Buren and John Armleder. We look forward to continuing 20th Century Week at Christie’s with the Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale, which will take place on Tuesday, May 10th at 7pm.”
Maurizio Cattelan (b. 1960, Padua, Italy), lives and works in New York and Milan. Unafraid to tackle taboo subject matter in visually seductive presentations, Cattelan has created some of the most unforgettable images in recent contemporary art. The first retrospective of the artist’s work, Maurizio Cattelan: All, was organized by the Guggenheim Museum and was on view from November 2011 to January 2012. It featured 130 works—examples of virtually everything the artist had produced since 1989—and presented them en masse, strung seemingly haphazardly from the oculus of the museum’s rotunda. Other solo exhibitions of Cattelan’s work have been organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1998); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2000); Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2001); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2001–03); P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1), New York (2002); Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (2003); Musée du Louvre, Paris (2004); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2008); The Menil Collection, Houston (2010); and Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2013). His work has also been featured in such exhibitions as the Venice Biennale (1993, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, and 2011), SITE Santa Fe (1997), Manifesta 2 (1998), Istanbul Biennial (1998), Kunsthalle Basel (1999), Whitney Biennial (2004), and theanyspacewhatever at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2008).
The work completed in 2001 attracted registered bidders from 36 countries.