Global Day of Service
Video | Christie’s New York employees share their inspiring experiences of participating in the Global Day of Service
Christie’s strives to maintain its legacy of service in all aspects of operations, through fostering creativity, activating employees in volunteerism in our Global Day of Service, and various employee initiatives and fundraisers. In July 2019, the Christie’s Corporate Social Responsibility team directed the 5th annual Global Day of Service where employees participated in various service projects to benefit the local community. In Asia, efforts included house cleaning at the Ronald McDonald House Charities® in Hong Kong, a group of migrant children were invited to Christie’s in Beijing for an oil painting workshop and event partner Stepping Stones held a tour of the Shanghai Natural History Museum. In New York, colleagues participated in a range of activities, including revitalizing a park, teaching dance moves to children, art projects with seniors, teaching students about personal finance, and assisting members of the community in job-seeking preparedness. In London, employees visited the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics sporting complex to clear-up seven tonnes of Himalayan balsam weeds from the canal, strip a meadow bank and replant it with over 600 plants to attract new wildlife, as well as conduct a wildlife survey on the river.
Staff Art Show
Video | Reception for Close to Home: Christie’s Staff Art Show 2018, in conjunction with our partner organization, The Art Therapy Project.
Every year Christie’s hosts a Staff Art Show to both sell and exhibit the artwork of its talented staff. This August, Christie’s New York hosted its 20th annual staff art show Close to Home, which presented nearly one hundred unique works by Christie’s employees. The works were auctioned online and put on view in the Rockefeller Center galleries. A portion of the proceeds were donated to The Art Therapy Project, the sole non-profit in New York dedicated to providing support to trauma survivors through art therapy.
Christie’s values the role we have played in stewarding great works of art with our clients for nearly 250 years. Whether they are buying or selling, Christie’s clients count on us to understand both the cultural and commercial value of art — and to ensure the responsible sale of their cultural objects.
Our policy on the looting of cultural property
The looting of archaeological sites and the destruction of historic buildings and monuments continues to be a major concern in the art world. We want to play our part in sending a clear message to those who participate in the illicit trade in cultural property that property looted and trafficked from conflict zones cannot be sold in the open market.
When handling works of antiquity or any work of art, Christie’s adheres to bilateral treaties and international laws related to cultural property and patrimony. We have strict procedures in place to help to ensure we only offer works of art which we are entitled to sell and, as a part of that due diligence, we work closely in partnership with many national and international organization that pursue the same goals.
As custodians of the art that passes through our doors, we recognise that we have a duty to carefully research the art and objects we handle and sell. Research and its publication is a vital part of our work. We devote considerable resources to investigating the provenance of objects we offer for sale and have a programme of specific procedures, including the requirement that our Sellers provide verifiable evidence in order to ensure that the works in our sales have not come from conflict zones.
As an additional safeguard we positively welcome and encourage scrutiny of our catalogues by museums, archeologists, collectors, law enforcement and government agencies.
To further these aims, and ensure that we have the most up to date information, we regularly attend and address forums tackling this area and are also in discussion with representatives of the countries affected by this illicit trade.
Christie’s believe we can play a useful role in the prevention of the illicit trade in cultural property and also facilitate the resolution of cultural property issues. We continue to recognise and evolve our responsibilities, while supporting the honourable and legal market in ancient art.
Article | Works of Art Returned to Italy in Collaboration with the Italian Embassy, London
Our policy on ivory
Today, we are seeing unprecedented levels of poaching of elephants, which is endangering the species as a whole. Christie's unequivocally condemns the slaughter of elephants for the illicit trade in modern ivory and wishes to ensure that no object passing through our hands is the product of that trade.
We continue to sell historic objects of cultural and artistic importance that include ivory, such as 18th century furniture, objects of virtue, medieval, renaissance and later ivory sculpture and 18th century silverware, where sale is permitted by the CITES convention and relevant national, federal and state regulations.
We believe there is a clear legal distinction between these historic works of art and the unacceptable products of today’s illicit trade in modern ivory, and are pleased to see this distinction reflected by the exemptions in the recently passed UK Ivory Act.
Christie’s is proud to support philanthropic initiatives through our networks, whether by facilitating the sale of artwork to benefit important causes, offering, when we can, our salerooms as a venue for fundraising events, and providing expert charity auctioneers. In 2019, Christie’s auctioneers assisted with more than 400 benefit auctions in countries around the world, raising more than $65 million and sold over $20 million of lots externally.
To request a charity auctioneer for a fundraiser to benefit a trust, foundation or 501c3, please send an email detailing the initiative to Charityauctioneerrequest@christies.com.
At Christie’s we want to drive positive change and build a more sustainable future. We continue to look at all aspects of our business to identify where we can reduce our environmental impact. In 2020 Christie’s is launching a new publishing initiative to significantly reduce print materials. The initial focus will be on the continued evolution of catalogue production and circulation with a goal of 50% reduction in print over the course of 2020. The reduction will be paired with increased investment in digital capabilities and experiences – from immersive property presentation to transactional experiences.
Existing client behaviour underpins this shift with over 52% of all lots acquired at Christie’s already being purchased by clients who did not receive any print materials. The project is rooted in Christie’s commitment to a more sustainable future. Already underway at Christie’s is an ongoing, iterative Sustainability program. This programme covers efforts to procure energy from renewable sources, including implementing energy reduction initiatives throughout buildings globally, assessing travel of staff and artworks, and reviewing the production of materials and recycling to minimize waste.
In addition, we are proud to continue to partner on meaningful projects that have raised significant funds for environmental and climate-focused charities, including:
• Christie’s launched publishing initiative for 2020 to significantly reduce print materials and help reduce the environmental footprint.
• In June 2019, Christie’s soldThe David Gilmour Collection: the personal guitar collection of the rock 'n' roll legend David Gilmour — guitarist, singer and songwriter of Pink Floyd. One of the world’s most comprehensive grouping of guitars, the iconic collection achieved $21.5 million, with all proceeds being donate to ClientEarth.
• Jonas Wood’s Japanese Garden 3 sold for $4,928,500 in May 2019, benefitting Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC). The proceeds funded a 600,000-acre reserve of South American rainforest that aids the area’s biodiversity including protecting several native endangered species and combating climate change. The work was donated by the artist in a collaboration that was initiated by Art to Acres, a non-profit foundation dedicated to raising funds for land conservation through art sales. Additionally, GWC and Rainforest Trust offered a 400% match of the hammer price of Japanese Garden 3 to go towards funding the reserve.
• In April 2019, the proceeds of 9 works sold as part of the Thinking Italian sale benefitted the Water Academy SRD, an international platform who operate in Higher Education and Scientific Research, alongside an annual symposium, in order to promote a new culture of water.
• The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller that raised $835 million in May 2018, the most significant philanthropic auction ever. Proceeds were directed, among other organisations, to: American Farmland Trust, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Mount Desert Land and Garden Preserve, and The Stone Barns Restoration Corporation – Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, among others.
• $38.8 million was raised in The 11th Hour charity auction in May 2013, organised by Leonardo DiCaprio and Christie’s to benefit environmental and conservation causes chosen by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and a panel of environmental experts.
• Christie’s Green: A Bid to Save the Earth raised $657,000 in May 2010, with proceeds divided among four leading not-for-profit environmental organisations: Conservation International, Oceana, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Central Park Conservancy.
Christie’s embraces industry-leading best practices to ensure that our colleagues worldwide enjoy a safe, healthy and creative work environment. We are committed to the promotion of talent regardless of gender, age or racial background.
Christie’s believe that the dignity of every person must be respected. Harassment, bullying or victimisation of colleagues is unacceptable in our organization. It is the responsibility of every employee, regardless of seniority to ensure his or her own conduct conforms to this standard.
We strongly encourage any individual to immediately report workplace behavior that does not conform to our stated policies regarding maintaining a harassment- and discrimination-free environment. The recent media attention on pervasive problems in the workplace highlights an important issue that should urgently be examined in every industry, and we support the goal of opening a dialogue within the broader art world specifically.