Simpsons themed painting by the artist KAWS (aka the New Jersey–born Brian Donnelly) sold for HK$115.9 million ($14.8 million) at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong—nearly 15 times the high estimate and more than five times his previous record of $2.7 million, which was set just last year.
The painting is the artist’s take on the 1967 Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely-Hearts Club album cover, wherein he replaces the original collage of ‘individuals with iconic characters.
The work was the top lot in the “NIGOLDENEYE® Vol. 1” sale, which featured the personal collection of Japanese streetwear entrepreneur, DJ, and record producer Tomoaki Nagao, better known as NIGO. This sale grossed a total of nearly HK$220 million, or $28 million, across 33 lots, meaning that record-setting painting accounted for about half of the haul.
“Brian has made it to the top and is one of the most famous contemporary artists in the world, which makes me so happy,” NIGO told Sotheby’s. The collector met KAWS in 1996 and became an early supporter of his work. In 2005, he commissioned THE KAWS ALBUM, which was shown at the artist’s 2016 retrospective at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, which later went to the Yuz Museum in Shanghai.