DiCaprio's Environmental Charity Art Auction Raises $33 Million
Leonardo DiCaprio's environmental charity auction at Christie's in New York has raised an impressive $33.3 million from wealthy art collectors. Most of the sale proceeds went to environmental protection causes promoted by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. The Hollywood actor, who was himself present at the auction, urged collectors to bid as if the planet's fate "depends on us" - and they responded to his call generously.
The 11th Hour auction featured 33 works of art, most of them contemporary. A large part of the collection was created especially for the event and addressed environmental themes. The exceptionally strong response doubled pre-sale estimates, with nine of the works selling in excess of $1 million. Mark Grotjahn's Untitled led the sale with $6.5 million and The Tiger by Zeng Fanzhi went for $5 million. Both the sales were about double of their pre-sale estimates.
DiCaprio says that his foundation is “dedicated to protecting the last wild places on Earth and the critically endangered species that inhabit them.” Elizabeth Peyton's 2013 portrait of DiCaprio himself sold for $1.05 million at the auction, surpassing its original sale estimate of $400,000-600,000.
DiCaprio emphasized at the event that the embattled global environment is in need of far greater help. “Despite the significant efforts of organizations and individuals all over the world, our modern way of life has caused unprecedented devastation to our oceans, our forests and our wildlife. We are at the 11th hour, we are facing a tipping point of environmental crisis unprecedented in human history,” he said.