Jeff Koons sculpture worth up to $12.5 million to be auctioned for Ukraine aid – KION546

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Lianne Kolirin, CNN

A sculpture by Jeff Koons estimated at £10 million ($12.5 million) will go on sale this month to raise money for humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Billionaire businessman Victor Pinchuk and his wife Olena are auctioning Koons’ landmark sculpture, “Balloon Monkey (Magenta)” (2006-13), at Christie’s. Proceeds from the sale will be used to help war-injured soldiers and civilians in dire need of prosthetics, medical care and rehabilitation, according to a press release issued by Christie’s earlier this week.

The sculpture will be offered at an evening sale dedicated to works made in the 20th and 21st centuries at Christie’s in London on June 28.

Koons’ sculptures are among the most expensive ever sold at auction. ‘Rabbit’ (1986) sold for $91 million at Christie’s New York in 2019, while ‘Balloon Dog (Orange)’ (1994-2000) sold for $58.4 million six years earlier.

In a statement released by Christie’s on Tuesday, Koons said it was a “sincere privilege” to have his work auctioned for the humanitarian cause.

“The true value of art is to be of service to humanity and there could be no higher calling right now than to support the people of Ukraine,” Koons said.

The sculpture will also be on display in St. James’s Square, adjacent to Christie’s London headquarters, from June 14 to July 3.

Koons described a personal connection to the Pinchuks – and Ukraine.

“Through my friendship with Victor and Olena Pinchuk, my life has been enriched by the people and culture of Ukraine. I have had the opportunity to visit Ukraine many times alone and with my family and have always felt a strong sense of community, friendship and history,” he said in the statement. Press.

“One of the reasons I’ve always worked with balloons is that the membrane is a reference to our skin; it is both internal and external life. I was very saddened by the human and cultural impact of the war and the destruction I witnessed in Ukraine.

“‘Balloon Monkey (Magenta)’ rightly symbolizes hope, affirmation and transcendence, and I can only hope that Victor and Olena Pinchuk’s donation of my artwork can help attract attention. attention to the need for help and support from the people of this country, now more than ever.”

According to Forbes, Victor Pinchuk has a net worth of $1.9 billion, having used his doctorate. in the design of pipes to found Interpipe, a producer of steel products, in 1990. He owns the Grand Buildings, a historic landmark building in London’s Trafalgar Square and chairs the PinchukArtCenter, which is known for its world prize for contemporary art biennial that awards $100,000 to a young artist, reports Forbes.

In 2013, Pinchuk pledged to give half or more of his fortune over the years to philanthropic causes, joining the Giving Pledge, a philanthropic initiative founded in 2010 by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, according to the website of the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

In Christie’s press release announcing the sale, he said: “Our gratitude and respect for our soldiers know no bounds. They give their blood for us, the future of Ukraine and the world. Every Ukrainian civilian killed or injured by Russian shelling, shooting and systematic violence means a wound in our souls.

“With the proceeds from the auction, we can help save lives. We can help restore lives destroyed by war. Dozens, maybe hundreds of lives, each of which has value beyond words.

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