£1 Million SpongeBob Painting Sets KAWS Auction Record: Relive the Bidding Frenzy

Laughter and cheers echoed throughout the room at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction in London as the hammer came down for KAWS’ 2008 painting, AGAIN AND AGAIN. Selling for £1.03 million, this portrait of one of America’s most beloved cartoon characters, SpongeBob SquarePants, quadrupled its low estimate of £250,000, setting a record price for the artist.

Lot 66. KAWS, Again and Again, 2008. Lot sold 1,030,000 GBP

KAWS, the Brooklyn-based artist also known as Brian Donnelly, is recognized for his appropriations of animations from popular culture; one of his most notable characters is COMPANION – a dark twist on Mickey Mouse. Composed of vibrant colors, an eerie grin and KAWS’ classic X-eyes, this portrait of SpongeBob offers a poignant social commentary on an image-saturated and media-obsessed contemporary society. “[I] found it weird how infused a cartoon could become in people's lives; the impact it could have, compared to regular politics,” the artist explains. Nostalgic to some, humorous to others, take a glimpse into the sale room as bidding goes back and forth for this iconic, record-setting work.

More from Sotheby's

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos & news.
Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

We use our own and third party cookies to enable you to navigate around our Site, use its features and engage on social media, and to allow us to perform analytics, remember your preferences, provide services that you have requested and produce content and advertisements tailored to your interests, both on our Site as well as others. For more information, or to learn how to change your cookie or marketing preferences, please see our updated Privacy Policy & Cookie Policy.