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Last night saw Leonardo DiCaprio’s 11th Hour Auction raise a colossal $38,827,000 million at Christies New York. Hailing itself as the most important wildlife auction ever staged, the evening set 13 individual world auction records for works of art by the likes of Dan Colen, Bharti Kher, Elizabeth Peyton and Sterling Ruby. Most of the proceeds will go directly to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, a charity that helps protect the world’s depleting forests, oceans and wildlife.
Just days before jetting to Cannes to celebrate the success of Baz Luhrmann’s Gatsby, a tanned DiCaprio gave a rousing environmental speech, goading the crowd to “bid as if the fate of the planet depends on us”. He later thanked Christies’ Loic Gouzer and the artists who contributed their great works of art.
Highlights of the evening included an anonymous collector who contributed $5 million to match the prices realized by three Tiger paintings by Zeng Fanzhi, Robert Longo and Takashi Murakami. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Peyton’s 2013 portrait of the man himself, titled “Leonardo”, bagged $1.05 million. As DiCaprio and art collectors from across the world scrambled to make the winning bids, the evening fast became a night to remember.