A piece donated by collector Christian Levett was auctioned at the amfAR Gala on May 25 in Cannes, France. The event, a fundraiser for AIDS research since 1985, saw participation from celebrities and raised over $500 million. The star-studded gala coincides with the Cannes Film Festival, bringing the spotlight onto the French Riviera.
Queen Latifah took the helm as host of the 2023 amfAR Gala, where a who’s who of the entertainment industry was in attendance. Eva Longoria, Heidi Klum, Rebel Wilson, Alek Wek, Orlando Bloom, and Kate Beckinsale were among the notable guests at the prestigious event. The audience was treated to a line-up of star-studded performances with Gladys Knight, Halsey, and Adam Lambert taking to the stage.
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The auction, conducted by Simon de Pury, serves as a potential indicator of the art market’s state. Starting bids at €100,000 rapidly climbed up to €1.2 million, signifying a robust response. A Damien Hirst piece, donated by Levett, fetched a high price at the event. This same artwork was originally procured during the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Gala & Auction back in 2016 for a substantial sum of €600,000.
Despite the successful sale at the gala, it did not surpass Hirst’s highest record price of $15 million in 2014 for a golden woolly mammoth skeleton artwork. The gala raised a total of $17 million, with the first Aston Martin DB12 customer car being the top lot at $1.6 million. Additional artwork from renowned artists such as Claire Tabouret, Cecily Brown, Andres Valencia, and Robert DeNiro were also auctioned.
Meanwhile, Hirst launched a digital format of his Spin Paintings in 2023, allowing collectors to design their pieces, which can be created as a physical item, an NFT, or both. The innovative venture sold 5508 paintings, generating over $20 million in sales.
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