(CNN) — Artist Jeff Koons’ famous sculptures may look like they’re made out of balloons, but they’re actually fragile, as one art fair visitor discovered Thursday when she smashed a $42,000 Koons piece and smashed it into pieces.
A blue balloon dog sculpture created by Koons shattered into small fragments when a visitor accidentally kicked the podium, according to the gallery housing the work.
Bel-Air Fine Art exhibited the work at its booth at Art Wynwood, a contemporary art fair in Miami.
In a statement emailed to CNN, the gallery’s district director, Cédric Boero, who manages the Art Wynwood booth, told CNN that the gallery serves as “one of the official representatives of Jeff Koons’ famous balloon dog sculptures.” .
“Obviously it’s heartbreaking to see such an iconic piece destroyed,” Boero said.
He said the piece fell after an anonymous art collector visiting the stand accidentally kicked the pedestal during the fair’s opening cocktail hour Thursday night.
“The collector never intended to break the sculpture, in fact she never touched it with her hands,” he said. “It was the opening cocktail, there were a lot of people at our stand, she accidentally kicked the base a bit, which was enough to knock the sculpture over.”
“Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens, which is why the artwork was insured,” he said.
The gallery shared photos of the sculpture reduced to pieces of ceramic lying on the floor.
The 2021 piece was titled “Balloon Dog (Blue)” and was valued at about $42,000, according to an email from Bel-Air Fine Art. The sculpture was made of porcelain and measured 16 x 19 x 6.3 inches. A total of 799 editions of the sculpture were made.
Koons and Art Wynwood did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Koons’ balloon animal figures are among the most iconic – and most expensive – sculptures in the contemporary art world. His pieces have fetched staggering amounts at auction: Rabbit (1986) sold for $91 million at Christie’s New York in 2019, and Balloon Dog (Orange) (1994-2000) sold for $58.4 million six years earlier sold.
He has created hundreds of reproductions of the Balloon Dogs, some over 10 feet tall and others a little over 12 inches, like the sculpture that broke.