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Press Release - July 15, 2019

Iconic KAWS Bus Stop Painting Highlights Heritage Auctions’ Chicago Complex-Con Urban Art Auction Preview

Est. $300,000 painting presented in a full-scale bus stop display as artist originally intended prior to its sale July 22

CHICAGO, Illinois (July 15, 2019) — A historic early painting by KAWS, one of the art world's most sought after contemporary artists, will be presented in its original format in a full-scale true-to-life bus stop at the Heritage Auctions booth at ComplexCon Chicago, July 20-21. The painting will be auctioned in an important sale of Urban Art, July 22-23 in Chicago.

Heritage Auctions' display for Companion – Bus Stop, 2001 is an ode to the artists' early subversive campaign, in which he transformed New York bus stops into an iconic piece of street art. The intention was to challenge viewers' perception of a city's lifeless bus stop and Heritage wants the public to experience the painting as the artist intended, said Leon Benrimon, a Director of Modern and Contemporary Art at Heritage.

The painting quickly became one of the artist's most sought after artworks. The piece secured its place in modern and contemporary art as a seminal body of work for the artist and the evolution of a new urban discourse now called street art.

Companion – Bus Stop, 2001, is among the earliest known paintings of his iconic Companion and is only the second painting of its kind offered at public auction. An estimated five to seven examples from the series exist. Bidding opens at $350, the same price the consignor paid for the work back in 2001, the year it was painted, however, the artwork is estimated to sell for $300,000-500,000.

The painting comes from an early supporter of the artist and an interesting turn of events led to its acquisition. According to the consignor, in 2001, the consignor was bidding on a similar KAWS work on eBay. After losing the auction, he received a message from another user informing the consignor he had a different but better KAWS work available.

After receiving an image, the collector reached out to the artist himself, Brian Donnelly. The artist expressed his shock and annoyance that the work had been removed and had a suspicion who was responsible. The work had just been installed site specific in Manhattan potentially to attract the attention of attendees to a nearby fashion show. Donnelly articulated his preference that a supporter own the work rather than the apparent culprit. With that, the consignor immediately purchased the artwork.

After inspection, the consignor explained to Donnelly the artwork had been slightly scuffed up by the thief. Donnelly suggested bringing it to his studio, where he kindly touched it up and added his signature and date, both of which appear at the bottom right corner of the work.

The artwork makes its Chicago debut in Heritage Auctions' booth at the inaugural Midwest edition of ComplexCon Chicago, July 20-21. Companion – Bus Stop, 2001is up for auction in Heritage Auctions' Urban Art Auction with live floor bidding at Heritage Auctions Chicago, 215 West Ohio Street, and online at

For more information, visit to learn more, #FollowTheDisruption and see all the stops @CompanionBusStop on Instagram.

Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world's largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.

The Internet's most popular auction-house website,, has over one million registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of four million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.

Eric Bradley, Director, Public Relations

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