An auction of 31 artworks generously donated by some of the world’s foremost contemporary artists, has raised more than £1,925,000 for the 158 surviving families of the Grenfell Tower Fire in which around 80 lives perished. The total achieved for the sale was double the pre-auction estimate of £700,000-£1,000,000, and 100% of the lots was sold.
The highest prices were set by Wolfgang Tillmans’ Freischwimmer 193 £392,750; Antony Gormley’s Small Charge £344,750 and Yinka Shonibare MBE’s Bad School Boy £200,000.
Other prized works from leading British artists including Tracey Emin; Anish Kapoor; Sarah Lucas; Don McCullin; Jake & Dinos Chapman; Mark Wallinger; Tim Noble & Sue Webster and Rachel Whiteread were put under the hammer.
Artists Tacita Dean and Idris Khan created artworks especially for the sale. Dean’s Lay The Dust With Tears realised £22,500 and Khan’s I Remember made £43,750. Gallerist Sadie Coles, a former resident of Notting Hill, also donated a work from her own collection, Neo Rauch’s Treffen which made £68,750.
The Rugby Portobello Trust, a North Kensington-based charity which has been closely supporting the Grenfell residents since the fire in June, will oversee the transfer of the proceeds to the families before Christmas. Art for Grenfell was the brainchild of film producer Hamish McAlpine and art consultant Katie Heller who liaised with the artists to source works for the sale.
They said: “The edifice of Grenfell Tower stands as a reminder of the terrible failure of society to look after its poorest people. No one should have had to suffer the trauma that these people have endured. It is only right that we should do all we can to help in any way that we can and the artists have responded with immense generosity and goodwill.”
Mark Simms, CEO of the Rugby Portobello Trust said: “Thank you on behalf of The Rugby Portobello Trust and on behalf of the families and wider community affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. The Rugby Portobello Trust has pledged to support everyone who survived this disaster and to ensure all Grenfell residents receive the support they need. The monies raised by this auction will be delivered, in their entirety, directly to the former residents by The Rugby Portobello Trust.”
Lord Dalmeny, Sotheby’s UK Chairman and Auctioneer for the Art for Grenfell sale said: “The Grenfell disaster has had a profound effect on all of us. We are very glad to be able to do something to help provide support to the victims.”
CELEBS RISE TO THE CHALLENGE
Art for Grenfell is not to be confused with Artists for Grenfell, the music stars assembled by X Factor impresario Simon Cowell to record the single Bridge Over Troubled Waters for the Grenfell survivors. If anything positive has emerged from this tragedy, it has been the willingness of the famous and well-connected, many who live or work in the Notting Hill area and surrounding neighbourhoods to contribute their expertise to the relief efforts or just voice support for the many causes fighting the wrongs that led to the disaster.
Singer Lily Allen who grew up in Shepherd’s Bush has gone on marches with the residents, while Ben Okri, Booker Prize winner and author of the Famished Road who lives near Grenfell Tower wrote and recited the powerful poem Grenfell Tower, June 2017 in memory of the dead. Grammy winner and local Adele has paid visits to the fire crews who fought the blaze while designer Stella McCartney whose HQ is in North Kensington has offered the victims support.