Jeff Koons recalls how Eli Broad doubled down on the first 'Balloon Dog' sculpture

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Jeff Koons says his first 'Balloon Dog' sculpture came into being only with the patience and pocketbook of Eli Broad, who died Friday at 87.
The year was 1997 or '98, Jeff Koons said. He had the idea for his first "Balloon Dog" sculpture: a Pop piece shaped like a kid's birthday party favor — except made of mirror-polished stainless steel and measuring nearly 12 feet long.

The problem: The cost of fabricating the dog kept growing, inflating like a balloon — doubling, then doubling again.

In stepped a savior: art collector Eli Broad.

"Eli stood by the piece and paid for the production, and that's how the first 'Balloon Dog' came into being," Koons said Friday, the day Broad died in Los Angeles at age 87. "He stood by…
Deborah Vankin
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