EW YORK — Leonardo DiCaprio urged wealthy art collectors to bid at an environmental charity auction in New York as if the planet’s fate “depends on us” — and they responded by splashing out $38.8 million.
Monday’s “11th Hour” auction at Christie’s featured 33 works of mostly contemporary art, much of it created for the event and addressing environmental themes.
The strong result doubled pre-sale estimates, with nine of the works selling for more than $1 million. Among the main sellers, Mark Grotjahn’s “Untitled” went for $6.5 million and Zeng Fanzhi’s “The Tiger” fetched $5 million, both of them doubling their estimates in enthusiastic bidding from around the world.
Most of the proceeds went to environmental protection causes championed by the Hollywood actor’s Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
A 2013 portrait of DiCaprio himself by Elizabeth Peyton sold for $1.05 million, compared to its $400,000-600,000 estimate.
The Hollywood element added even more glitz to the already luxurious atmosphere of a Manhattan Christie’s auction room, with actress Salma Hayek joining DiCaprio in the audience.
However, DiCaprio said the world’s embattled environment needs far more help.