A Jeff Koons sculpture of a balloon dog was shattered at Art Wynwood in Miami by a careless visitor.

The famous balloon animals by Jeff Koons look fragile, over-sized sculptures of balloon dogs and rabbits like a clown might make at a street fair. And they are fragile, but in a very different way than latex and helium.

“Balloon Dog (Blue)” was made of mirror-glazed porcelain, about 16 inches by 19 by 6, the size to be a table centerpiece. Jeff Koons sculpts, molds and then casts multiple copies of his works, making this piece one out over almost 800 identical balloon dogs in various colors and ranging in size from just over a foot tall to towering lobby-art pieces.

But its replication doesn’t mean that it’s mass produced. Koons’ sculptures are among the most expensive and well-known in the contemporary art world, with some going for tens of millions of dollars at auction. The piece being displayed in the Miami art fair was estimated to be worth approximately $42,000, a relatively modest sum.

“Balloon Dog (Blue)” was being displayed at Art Wynwood by Bel-Air Fine Art in their booth when a visitor accidentally bumped the pedestal supporting the art.

“The collector never intended to break the sculpture, in fact she never touched it with her hands,” said Cédric Boero, who was managing the booth. “It was the opening cocktail, lots of people were on our booth, she gave unintentionally a little kick in the pedestal, which was enough to cause the sculpture to fall down.”

The gallery does not intend to charge the visitor anything for the damage, which will be covered by insurance. The gallery has also said that several collectors have made offers to purchase the shards, after they have been evaluated by Bel-Air Fine Arts’ insurance expert. One of said collectors, artist Stephan Gamson, says he wants to incorporate the pieces into an art-piece of his own.

Photo: Ms Y Bailey / Shutterstock