New York – Christie’s and amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, are pleased to announce a new partnership devoted to raising critical funds for COVID-19 research through a dedicated global auction at Christie’s this June. After the rapid spread of the coronavirus this spring forced amfAR to cancel its annual fundraising Gala at Cannes, which last year raised $15 million in vital research funds, the two organizations are joining forces to bridge the gap in fundraising and use it as an opportunity to address the new and urgent threat of COVID-19.
From the Studio will present contemporary artworks that have been generously donated by leading collectors and by artists themselves, including new works never before seen by the public, which have been sourced with the help of Michael Nevin, director of The Journal Gallery. Proceeds from the June event at Christie’s New York will benefit amfAR. As a leader in infectious disease research, amfAR recently announced that it is expanding its research efforts to participate in the all-out effort to develop effective treatments for the new coronavirus, and established the amfAR Fund to Fight COVID-19 for that purpose.
Christie’s and amfAR will jointly announce details of each donated artwork on a rolling basis throughout May, with accompanying videos and Webinar-style conversations about the works with the project curator and participating artists. The auction is slated to coincide with Christie’s International 20th Century Week, which will bring together Impressionist, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary art from New York and London auctions that were delayed this year due to precautionary saleroom closures in the U.S. and Europe.
“We are deeply grateful to Christie’s and to all of the artists who are so generously contributing to this endeavor,” said Kevin Robert Frost, amfAR Chief Executive Officer. “Every dollar raised through this auction will support infectious disease researchers working night and day to find effective treatments for this insidious new virus.”
Guillaume Cerutti, Chief Executive Officer, Christie’s commented: “Christie’s is pleased be a partner with amfAR and the artist community in raising awareness and funds for the important work being undertaken by amfAR and their new, particular focus on effective treatments for COVID-19. As part of our global efforts to support the sale and to ensure that we play an active, responsible role during this challenging time, we will be leveraging all of our international network to ensure the success of this special auction.”
Marc Porter, Chairman, Christie’s Americas added: “These last months have been a reminder to us all of the critical importance of continued research in the field of infectious diseases. Through this partnership, Christie’s and amfAR are creating a convening moment for the global art world to support these important efforts and to honor the generosity of each of the participating artists, some of whom have been creating new works while self-isolating under the threat of this deadly new virus.”
amfAR is uniquely positioned to identify gaps in the current research efforts and to quickly mobilize resources to fund the kind of cutting-edge research on COVID-19 that it has been doing for 35 years on HIV/AIDS. Many amfAR-funded scientists have pivoted their work to focus on the immediate crisis of COVID-19, and the new amfAR fund will support them and many more scientists in their efforts to find effective treatments for the coronavirus.
Within the art world, amfAR has a long association with contemporary artists; among its earliest supporters were Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg. Recent amfAR auctions have featured generous donations of new artworks direct from the studio, such as Damien Hirst’s gilded mammoth skeleton Gone but Not Forgotten, which realized $15 million, and Jeff Koons’ monumental Coloring Book, which achieved $13.5 million.
Philanthropic Auctions at Christie’s
Christie’s is known throughout the industry as the auction house of choice for charitable sale partnerships, and has previously partnered with amfAR on successful fundraising efforts, including “Unforgettable: Fashion of the Oscars”, a benefit auction presented in partnership with Vogue Magazine that raised nearly $800,000 from the sale of 54 iconic Academy Award Ceremony gowns. In recent years, Christie’s has successfully hosted high-profile auctions to benefit charitable causes, including Global Wildlife Conservation, The 11th Hour Auction, Artists for Haiti, the Green Auction series, and many more. In May 2018, Christie’s partnered with the Rockefeller family to sell the landmark collection of the late Peggy and David Rockefeller on behalf of designated charities and raised a record $835 million through a dedicated series of live and online auctions. Globally Christie’s is playing its part in combating outcomes of the Covid-19 pandemic, collaborating with the arts and wider communities with combined aims of fund raising activity and practical assistance for those in need, together with an ongoing content strategy to help raise spirits in this time of uncertainty.
Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had auction sales in the first half of 2019 that totalled £2.2 billion / $2.8 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.
Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.