Leonardo DiCaprio's art auction raises $39m for environmental charities
Tuesday 14 May 2013
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Christie's auction house raised $38.8 million (£25 million) through a charity art auction and donations with proceeds to benefit environmental and conservation causes.
The 33 works in The 11th Hour Auction organised by the star of the new film The Great Gatsby sold for $31.74 million on Monday evening and set 13 records for artists including Carol Bove, Joe Bradley, Mark Grotjahn, Raymond Pettibon and Mark Ryden among others.
A $5 million matching donation for three of the lots and additional gifts from donors brought the overall total to $38.8 million for The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, according to Christie's.
"All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you," DiCaprio told the audience at the end of the auction.
Many of the works, which were created for and donated to the auction by the artists, sold in spirited bidding in a packed auction house. Art collectors from around the globe also placed bids by telephone.
"Christie's is thrilled with the exceptional results of the sale, which realized $38.8 million," said Loic Gouzer, international specialist at Christie's and the head of the sale.
"The works of art were of incredible quality and range, and highlight the generosity of the many artists who donated," he added.
A panel of environmental experts and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation will decide which conservation projects will benefit from the proceeds of the sale.
At the opening of the auction, DiCaprio, who has supported environmental issues through his foundation since 1988 and also produced and narrated the 2007 documentary "The 11th Hour" about the state of the environment, urged the audience to dig deep into their pockets.
"Bid as if the fate of the planet depended on us," he said.
And they did. All of the 33 works were sold and many fetched prices that were three or four times their pre-sale estimates.
The top lot of the sale was an oil on cardboard mounted on canvas by Mark Grotjahn called "Untitled (Standard Lotus No. II, Bird of Paradise, Tiger Mouth Face 44.01)," which sold for $6.2 million as two determined bidders pushed up the price.
Zeng Fanzhi's "The Tiger," an oil on canvas, fetched nearly double its high estimate with a price of $4.8 million, and Bharti Kher's sculpture "The Skin Speaks a Language Not Its Own" went for $1.7 million.
Each of the three works had a pre-sale estimate of $1.5 million to $2.5 million.
DiCaprio donated "Ocean V" by Andreas Gursky, which sold for $600,000, and he bought an acrylic on canvas by Takashi Murakami for $700,000.
A portrait of DiCaprio painted by Elizabeth Peyton sold for $1 million.
Gouzer and DiCaprio had approached the artists and explained what they had hoped to accomplish with the auction, which they have been planning for a year.
"We explained that we wanted great works and they were very reactive because of the cause. The artists are very sensitive to the fact that we are destroying our planet," Gouzer said in an interview ahead of the sale.
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Fast & Furious 7 overtakes Frozen to become 5th highest grossing movie of all time
Poldark, series 1 finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show film
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'