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Press Release - October 31, 2018
Master KAWS collector Ronnie K. Pirovino Opens His Vault at Heritage AuctionsRenowned expert makes history Nov. 7 with world’s first stand-alone auction of works by the artist
After becoming a critical figure in defining the "Art 'Toy’” category, the auction includes most vinyl KAWS toy created from 1999 to present, and many toys made in wood and other mediums. The sale fulfills Pirovino’s wish to give fellow collectors access to the hobby’s most sought after works.
"Upon first glance, I was viscerally hit by the KAWS Companion’s homage to Mickey Mouse, one of my favorite icons as a child,” said Pirovino of his first encounter with the artist’s work. "The sculpture was both menacing and comical; both anchored in long-established pop culture, yet whimsical.”
Pirovino’s said the moment in 2003 launched what would become the largest and most important collection of KAWS toys in private hands.
The internationally recognized 1999 Companion (est. $1,000-$1,500), one of Pirovino’s favorite pieces, highlights the artist’s most iconic works. A 2012 Astroboy ($1,500-$2,500), 2002 Accomplice (est. $6,000-$8,000) — his daughter’s favorite — and the 2005 Karimoku BE@RBRICK (est. $3,000-$5,000).
"The Karimoku BE@RBRICK is a beautiful small wood work and a major clue to the future larger, and monumental wood sculptures KAWS is producing today,” Pirovino said of the challenging find.
The breadth and depth features many sculptures that are unique in their own way: A set of Accomplice, 2002 (est. $6,000-$8,000), retains the original boxes with unique, original drawings personally added by KAWS to the front.
"We expect the sale to break multiple world records,” said Taylor Curry, consignment director in New York for Heritage Auctions. "Many of these items are coming up for the first, and possibly the last time, at auction.”
In addition to the Accomplices, many others works have special features or signatures (on the box or on the toy), including the 2002 Chum (Black) (est. $1,000-$1,500), 2006 Skull Kun (Glow in the Dark) (est. $600-$800) and the nearly impossible to own 2005 Companion (Bronze) (est. $3,000-$5,000). Another highlight is Permanent Thirty-Three Heads, 2008, (est. $4,000-$8,000), which were never released commercially.
In a surprising move, Pirovino is selling what KAWS collectors consider a seminal piece — the 2011 Companion Karimoku Version (est. $10,000-$15,000).
Additional highlights include:
· No Future Companion (Black Chrome and Silver), (est. $8,000-$12,000
· Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket (est. $2,000-$3,000)
· All three Star Wars collaborations, Darth Vader (est. $1,000-$1,500), Storm Trooper est. $1,000-$1,500) and Boba Fett (est. $1,000-$1,500)
Reaching out to the community, the entire auction will be on preview during at ComplexCon, Nov. 3-4 in Long Beach, California. To commemorate the landmark sale, Heritage Auctions is releasing a limited edition, hardcover auction catalog at ComplexCon as well.
Bidding is now open for the Nov 7 online auction of The Toy Collection of Ronnie K. Pirovino; the sale begins at Noon EST. High-resolution, close-up photographs of all lots are available online, as is a digital downloadable catalog.
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, HA.com, 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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