Christie’s Will Auction Off Works by Rashid Johnson, Cecily Brown, and Other Artists to Benefit a Charity Battling Fossil Fuels

The Gallery Climate Coalition organized the sale with the auction house.

Cecily Brown, There’ll be bluebirds (2019)., Estimate: £500,000-700,000. Courtesy the artist.
Cecily Brown, There’ll be bluebirds (2019)., Estimate: £500,000-700,000. Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery. Photo: Genevieve Hanson.

The Gallery Climate Coalition is teaming up with global auction house Christie’s for a star-studded series of sales that will benefit an environmental law charity. The seven works, by artists including Antony Gormley, Cecily Brown, and Rashid Johnson, will be included in the house’s sales in London, New York, and Hong Kong over the next year.

Christie’s, a member and patron of the coalition, which works to lobby the art industry to become more sustainable, will donate the profits to ClientEarth, a nonprofit legal organization that brings governments and private companies to account with the expertise of legal teams. The works have been donated by the artists and the member galleries, which include Hauser and Wirth, Thomas Dane Gallery, and White Cube.

The new initiative, called “Artists for ClientEarth,” will launch with the sale of Cecily Brown’s painting There’ll be bluebirds (2019) at Christie’s evening sale in London on October 15. The work, which was shown during the artist’s solo exhibition at Blenheim Palace in September, has a pre-sale estimate of £500,000 to £700,000 ($589,000 to $963,000).

A work by Rashid Johnson will be included in the New York sale in November. Gormley’s work will appear in February 2022 and a donation from Beatriz Milhazes will go up for sale a few months later, in June. Each of the works will appear at local sales in order to cut down on carbon-heavy shipping.

“The law must be enforced and strengthened in order to protect what we have always taken for granted: the creatures, plants, and people on which the future of the planet relies,” Gormley said in a statement.

Christie’s pledged to become carbon net zero by 2030. All members of the Gallery Climate Coalition, which was founded in October, have pledged to reduce their carbon footprint by 50 percent in the next 10 years, in line with the Paris agreement. Local chapters have now been opened in Berlin and London to help members find local solutions to carbon reduction.

The Gallery Climate Coalition will host a parallel program of talks to educate collectors and art world professionals about the vital work that ClientEarth undertakes to create systemic change to protect the planet. Based in Europe, Asia, and the U.S., ClientEarth has teams of  lawyers who use their specialized expertise to block the construction of coal power plants or to legally force lenders to withdraw funding for fossil fuels.


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