London: Sculptures by a British artist that cost 1,500 pounds each to make and had provoked a storm of feminist protest when they were first exhibited, have sold for a record 2.6 million pounds.
The sum – almost 30 times the pre-sale estimate – is a record for works by Allen Jones, who was a central figure in the pop-art movement of the Sixties.
The sculptures created in 1969 consisted of a sculpted table, chair and hatstand that feature fibreglass models of semi-naked women.
The pieces, which cost 1,500 pounds each to produce, were the most fought-over items in the auction of a collection owned by the late German billionaire Gunter Sachs, former husband of Brigitte Bardot.
Eventually all three sold to an anonymous telephone bidder.
The sculptor will be receiving 10,000 pounds in resale royalties
“Pop art has been highly sought-after recently. It’s very pleasing for my work to be enjoyed as part of the history of the period,” the Daily Mail quoted Jones as saying.
Jones, now 75, studied at the Royal College of Art, where his work had been featured alongside that of his friend David Hockney.
Six sets had been made of the furniture-sculptures, which had caused outrage when they were exhibited in 1970, with feminists accusing the artist of objectifying women.
In 1981, Sir Alan Bowness, director of the Tate, was criticised when he bought the most provocative of the pieces, Chair, for the gallery with public money.
Not all of Allen Jones’ work has created as much controversy as some of his earlier sculptures
“The sculptures were seen as very risque at the time,” Jones said.
“I was commenting on the same situation that was the source of the feminist movement,” he added.