NEW YORK (AP) – A sculpture of a stainless steel heart hanging from a golden bow sold Wednesday for $23.6 million, setting auction records, a Sotheby’s spokeswoman said.

The bright magenta “Hanging Heart” sculpture, considered one of Jeff Koons’ most important works, set records for Koons at auction and for any living artist at auction, Sotheby’s spokeswoman Lauren Gioia said.

The previous record for a living artist was Damien Hirst’s “Lullaby Spring,” which sold for $19.5 million at Sotheby’s in London in June.

The Koons work was bought by the Gagosian Gallery, which had picked up his “Diamond (Blue)” sculpture for $11.8 million at a Christie’s auction on Tuesday.

“Hanging Heart,” nearly 9 feet tall and weighing more than 3,500 pounds, is from Koons’ “Celebration” series, inspired by celebratory milestones such as birthdays and anniversaries. The “Diamond (Blue)” also is from the series.

“Koons is an artist who doesn’t allow compromise, and ‘Hanging Heart’ is all about making an impossibility possible,” said Tobias Meyer, head of Sotheby’s contemporary art department.

The sculpture was offered for sale by a private American collector and had a pre-sale estimate of $15 million to $20 million. Its sale price included an auction house commission.

Sotheby’s contemporary art auction set a new record, $315.9 million, in its 263-year history, Gioia said.

AP-ES-11-14-07 2316EST

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