Culture & Philanthropy

About Culture & Philanthropy at Christie’s


Art is our cornerstone, central to everything we do here at Christie’s. We believe that access to beautiful and special objects is an important part of people’s personal and cultural life and this is the lens through which we consider our activities in the workplace, community, and environment.

For over 250-years, Christie’s has the unique honour and privilege of stewarding great works of art with our clients, from one generation to another, across cultures and era. Today we continue to work closely with artists and the world’s leading art and cultural institutions.

Our committment to philanthropy

About Christie’s and Charity Auctions

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; or providing expert charity auctioneers. In 2017, Christie’s auctioneers assisted with more than 250 benefit auctions in countries around the world, raising more than $50 million.

Christie’s has recently entered into a collaboration with two companies that offer comprehensive platforms and solutions to optimize philanthropic fundraising. Harnessing the technological power of our three-way partnership with Charitybuzz and Givergy, both leaders in their fields, Christie’s institutional clients can now take advantage of a comprehensive technology solution to handle all of their auctions’ online and event needs and to unlock new revenue streams.

For more information or to request a charity auctioneer for a fundraiser to benefit a trust, foundation or 501c3, please send an email detailing the initiative to Charityauctions@christies.com.

PRESS RELEASE | CHRISTIE’S X CHARITYBUZZ: New Referral Program Offers Christie’s Institutional Clients The Ability To Extend Their Philanthropic Impact


Great causes. Great results.

  • The Mécénat Gala 2019

    In Tokyo, Christie’s helped to auction 11 lots that were offered by photographer and architect Hiroshi Sugimoto at The Mécénat Gala 2019 to support the Odawara Art Foundation.

    About the Foundation

    Contemporary artist Hiroshi Sugimoto established the Odawara Art Foundation in 2009 in order to foster the advancement of Japanese culture while adopting an international perspective.

    Odawara Art Foundation was formed to assist in the reconsideration of history. They do this by producing and promoting classical theater arts and avant-garde stage art. They also research art of all genres and periods.

  • The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller

    After an extended campaign, 10 days of online sales and three days of dynamic live auctions at Christie’s Rockefeller Center, the total for the 1,500 objects comprising The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller reached $835,111,344/ £720,599,874. The sale well exceeded initial expectations and established the highest auction total ever for a private collection at auction — nearly doubling the previous record held by the Collection of Yves Saint Laurent et Pierre Bergé, which totaled $443 million.

    Price Realised
    Pre-Sale Estimate: $565,401,300 – 647,631,911

    Total Price Realised: $835,111,344 (100% sold)

    About the Charities

    The most significant charitable auction in history, all of the estate proceeds were directed to philanthropies that Peggy and David Rockefeller supported during their lifetimes, for the benefit of continuing scientific research, higher education, support for the arts, sustainable economic development, and land conservation initiatives, among others. Over the course of the sales, numerous world auction records were established across the fine and decorative arts. The Rockefeller Estate has donated more than $200 million to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in the first major donation of the proceeds from the sale in the largest donation the museum has received to date.

  • Property Sold to Benefit Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA)

    In March 2017, Christie’s offered 14 works donated by leading contemporary artists in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Auction in London. The proceeds from the sale were donated to the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which is committed to representing a vast range of artists from Africa and the diaspora, and is the largest museum to open on the continent in more than 100 years. The top lot was El Anatsui’s Warrior, which achieved £725,000, and the 14 works sold for a combined total of nearly £1.5 million against a high estimate of £1,253,500.

    Price Realised
    Pre-Sale Estimate: £867,500 - 1,253,500

    Total Price Realised: £1,484,750 (100% sold)

    About the Beneficiary


    Zeitz MOCAA constitutes a re-imagining of a museum within an African context: celebrating Africa preserving its own cultural legacy, writing its own history and defining itself on its own terms. The museum’s commitment to cutting edge contemporary art practice from across the continent of Africa and its Diaspora is a huge responsibility. Zeitz MOCAA’s emphasis on access for all, representation for all and a platform for people from Africa to participate in writing their own cultural heritage is an important mission that the museum upholds.

  • Property Sold for the Benefit of the University of Sydney

    In June 2011’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in London, Christie’s offered Pablo Picasso’s portrait of Marie-Thèrése Walter sleeping. The painting, Jeune fille endormie, is a rarely-seen work from the celebrated series of the artist’s lover. The proceeds went to Australia’s University of Sydney to fund the creation of endowed chairs across several disciplines within a new University centre dedicated to the research of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The sale successfully raised a total of £13,481,250, exceeding the high estimate. Christie’s also partnered with the University to create a 10-year partnership, wherein students from the University would have the opportunity to gain work experience in Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art department.

    Price Realised
    Pre-Sale Estimate Total: £9,000,000 - 12,000,000

    Total Price Realised: £13,481,250 (100% sold)

    About the Beneficiary


    The University of Sydney is a leading comprehensive research and teaching university committed to the transformative power of education and to fostering greater knowledge and understanding of the world and its people. Through critical analysis, intellectual leadership and active contribution to public debate, the University is highly influential in shaping Australia’s national and international agenda.

  • Property Sold for the Benefit of the Kistefos Museum

    In August 2018, Christie’s presented Twisted, a benefit auction at the Kistefos Museum in Norway. Supported by leading international artists and galleries, including Hurvin Anderson, George Condo, Anish Kapoor, Theaster Gates and Candida Höfer, all funds raised at the auction went to fund a new building for the museum that will be built by Bjarke Ingels’s Denmark-based architectural firm, BIG.

    Price Realised
    Pre-Sale Estimate: NOK12,535,000 - 17,860,000

    Total Price Realised: NOK 20,500,000 (100% sold)

    About the Beneficiary


    Founded in 1998 by inventor and industrialist Christen Sveaas, Kistefos Museum is comprised of a contemporary sculpture park, which since its foundation has given artists the opportunity to exhibit their art in the wild Norwegian landscape. Alongside the sculpture park, exhibition spaces housed in old factory buildings have highlighted works by artists including Marina Abramovic, Louise Bourgeois and Ai Wei Wei. Moving from old factory buildings into a new state of the art museum space will continue to fulfill the museum’s ambition of sharing a passion for art in the best way possible, to the broadest audience possible.

  • Property Sold for the Benefit of the Louvre Museum

    In May 2013’s Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in Hong Kong, Christie’s offered Yan Pei-Ming’s Bruce Lee – Fighting Spirit to benefit the Louvre Museum. The sale of the work realized HKD 10,590,000.

    The work was generously donated by the artist through the Société des Amis du Louvre (French Society of the Friends of the Louvre). All of the proceeds were donated to the Louvre Museum for the refurbishment of its 18th Century Decorative Arts Galleries.

    Price Realised
    Pre-Sale Estimate: HKD 4,000,000 – 6,000,000

    Total Price Realised: HKD 10,590,000 (100% sold)

    About the Beneficiary


    Established in 1793 and located in Paris, the Louvre Museum is the world’s largest art museum,

  • The 11th Hour

    In May 2013, Christie’s, working with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, was pleased to present the 11th Hour Auction —the most important wildlife charity sale ever staged— which offered works by many of the world’s preeminent Contemporary artists, many of whom created works specifically for this cause.

    The sale achieved $38,827,000 and established 13 new world auction records, with 9 works of art selling for more than one million dollars. Highlights included Mark Grotjahn’s Untitled, which sold for $6.5 million and Zeng Fanzhi’s The Tiger, which fetched $5 million. The sale attracted attention from all over the world, with registrants from 32 countries. An anonymous donor also contributed $5 million to match the prices realized for the three tiger paintings in the sale, which were by Zeng Fanzhi, Robert Longo and Takashi Murakami, in order to specifically protect the animals. The monetary contributions of a number of other donors during the sale totaled an additional $500,000.

    Price realised
    Pre-Sale Estimate: $12,505,000 – 18,100,000

    Total Price Realised: $38,827,000 (100% sold)

    About the Charities

    The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is dedicated to protecting the planet’s last wild places and fostering a harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world. Since 1998, the Foundation has been working on pressing environmental and humanitarian issues through grant making, campaigning and media projects. Areas of focus include: wildlife and habitat preservation, healthy oceans, water access, climate change and disaster relief.

  • Yves Klein’s FC 1
    with Proceeds to Benefit OCEANA

    In May 2012, Christie’s offered Yves Klein’s legendary Fire-Color Painting, FC 1, as a highlight of the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale. The work achieved $36.5 million at auction, establishing a new world record price for the artist at the time of the sale.

    Executed a few weeks before his death at the age of 34, FC 1 is widely acclaimed as the artist’s ultimate masterpiece. The painting’s creation is documented in Klein’s movie, La Revolution Bleue.

    A portion of the proceeds of the sale of FC 1 was donated to OCEANA, the largest international organization working solely to protect the world’s oceans.

    OCEANA and Christie’s have a partnership dating back several years, beginning with Christie’s first annual Green Auction: A Bid to Save the Earth in April 2010, with subsequent sales in 2011 and 2012.

    To date, the proceeds from these sales are among the largest donations ever made to OCEANA.

    Price Realised
    Pre-Sale Estimate: $30,000,000 – 40,000,000

    Total Price Realised: $36.5 million (100% sold)

    From the Charity

    OCEANA is very grateful to be part of this opportunity…This partnership with Christie’s is a perfect example of the kind of creative thinking that helps produce the policy changes that will save the oceans.”

    - Andy Sharpless, OCEANA CEO

  • Jewels for Hope: The Collection of Mrs. Lily Safra

    In May 2012, Christie’s was entrusted with the sale of selected works from Mrs. Lily Safra’s magnificent jewelry collection, from which the full proceeds were generously donated to 32 different charitable institutions. Regarded as a major philanthropist of our time, Mrs. Safra’s collection reflected her refined taste and its evolution throughout five decades, from the 1970s to the present day. The 70 lots included important diamonds, rubies, sapphires as well as a group of extraordinary jewels by JAR, the majority of which were created specifically for Mrs. Safra by the renowned jeweler.

    Jewels For Hope: The Collection of Mrs. Lily Safra realized $37.9 million, and was 100% sold both by lot and by value. In addition to setting a world record for any ruby sold at auction, the sale also became the most valuable private-owner collection of JAR jewels ever sold at auction.

    Price Realised
    Pre-Sale Estimate: $19.8 – 29 million

    Total Price Realised: $37.9 million

    From the Charity

    “The additional support we receive this evening will help us to build and strengthen our professional skills programming, so that a child who leaves Agahozo-Shalom not only has a high school diploma but also a skill set relevant to the Rwandan job market.”

    - Anne Heyman, Founder of the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda

  • Artists for Haiti

    In September 2011, Christie’s joined together with actor, director and philanthropist Ben Stiller, and gallerist David Zwirner to organize an auction benefiting non-profits in Haiti following the devastating earthquake of 2010. Artists for Haiti, a nonprofit organization, also participated in the much-needed humanitarian effort to raise funds for children’s education and health programs. All of the proceeds from this outstanding effort went to support non-profits and NGOs who perform extraordinary work in Haiti, including: Architecture for Humanity, Artists for Peace and Justice, Ciné Institute, Grameen Creative Lab, J/P HRO, Partners In Health and The Stiller Foundation, among others.

    The sale offered 27 works by contemporary artists such as Glenn Ligon, Jeff Koons, and Chuck Close, achieving a total of $13.7 million.

    Price Realised
    Pre-Sale Estimate: $7.5 – 10.5 million

    Total Price Realised: $13.7 million (100% sold)

    From the Charity

    "We are so grateful to all of the artists who dedicated their time and talent to help raise an extraordinary amount of money that will be utilized as efficiently and quickly as possible to help the people of Haiti. Christie’s and David Zwirner Gallery worked very hard to make this a success and I am thankful to have them as partners in this effort.”

    - Ben Stiller, Co-Founder, Artists for Haiti

  • A New Day: Artists for Japan

    In November 2011, Christie’s partnered with Takashi Murakami and Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. for a benefit auction organized in support of the victims of the Tohoku-Pacific earthquake in Japan. Held in conjunction with the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale, New Day: Artists for Japan brought together 21 works donated by a number of leading contemporary artists, including Zeng Fangzhi, Gabriel Orozco, Damien Hirst, Mark Grotjahn, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman and Takashi Murakami himself.

    Ken Watanabe began the sale by reading a poem that he dedicated to the earthquake victims. The poetry reading set the tone for a highly successful sale, which totaled $8.8 million. All of the proceeds were subsequently contributed to The Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Global Giving and International Medical Corps.

    Price Realised
    Pre-Sale Estimate: $4.5 – 6.1 million

    Total Price Realised: $8.8 million (100% sold)

    From the Charity

    “It was with the goal of engaging people in a shared understanding of the catastrophic state of affairs that I wanted to hold this event; if an art auction can serve as the impetus for such understanding, then I am hopeful that we can make our present hardship worthwhile.”

    - Takashi Murakami

  • Property Being Sold for the Benefit of Hackley School

    Christie’s offered three paintings as Property Being Sold for the Benefit of Hackley School, Tarrytown, New York, Under a Bequest from the Estate of Ethel Strong Allen, including the star lot of the auction, Claude Monet’s Nymphéas, in our November 2012 Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale. The Monet, along with two Impressionist landscapes by Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley, were bequeathed by the Estate of Ethel Strong Allen, widow of the late Wall Street executive Herbert Allen, Sr., to Hackley School, attended by three generations of the Allen family. All three paintings sold for a combined total of $50,871,500, making it one of the largest donations ever made to an independent school in New York state.

    Price Realised
    Pre-Sale Estimate Total: $35,000,000 – 57,000,000

    Total Price Realised: $50,871,500 (100% sold)

    About the Beneficiary

    Founded in 1899, Hackley is a K-12 co-educational, college-preparatory day and five-day boarding school located in the Westchester County village of Tarrytown, just 30 minutes from NYC. The mission of Hackley is to challenge students to grow in character, scholarship, and accomplishment, to offer unreserved effort, and to learn from the varying perspectives and backgrounds in our community and the world.

  • Kunsthalle Zürich Charity Auction

    In June 2012, Christie’s offered a selection of works that were sold to benefit the Kunsthalle Zürich in Switzerland. Held in conjunction with our London Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale, the auction was comprised of works donated by artists who had previously exhibited at the Kunsthalle Zürich.

    Selling 96% by value and 89% by lot, this charity sale realized a total of £2.8 million ($4.4 million), against an estimate of £1.8 million. The quality of works attracted bidding from all over the world and successful buyers, participating online, by phone and in the room, came from 21 counties. The top lot was Rudolf Stingel’s Untitled, executed in 2010, which sold for £397,250. Underscoring the success of this partnership with the Kunsthalle Zürich, eleven new world auction records were established for artists represented in the sale.

    Price Realised
    Pre-Sale Estimate: $1.8 million

    Total Price Realised: $2.8 million

    About the Charity

    Kunsthalle Zürich presents exhibitions, publications, workshops, symposia, and artist talks on art history, theory and practice.

  • Property from the Collection of John Cage and Merce Cunningham

    The November 2009 sale of Property from the Collection of John Cage and Merce Cunningham, Sold to Benefit the Merce Cunningham Trust, presented collectors with the opportunity to acquire significant works by the great Post-War masters Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Philip Guston. All six works achieved strong prices, achieving a collective total of $7.1 million. Two of the most important figures to emerge in the American Post-War era, Cunningham and Cage collaborated and forged friendships with some of the most influential artists of their generation.

    An exceptional group of works by Robert Rauschenberg including works from the 1950s were offered, each emblematic of his highly experimental approach, including a transfer drawing dedicated to John Cage, Untitled, from 1961 that sold for $938,500 and No. 1, 1951, which achieved $962,500. A new world auction record of $542,500 was established for a work on paper by Philip Guston, with the sale of Untitled, an ink on paper executed circa 1953.

    Price Realised
    Pre-Sale Estimate Total: $1,750,000 – 2,350,000

    Total Price Realised: $5,819,500

    About the Beneficiary

    Established by Cunningham in 2000, the Merce Cunninghan Trust serves as the custodian of the work of Merce Cunningham. Its mission is to preserve, enhance, and maintain the integrity of Cunningham’s choreographic and other artistic work, and make such works available
    for the benefit of the public.

  • Selected Works for the Judd Foundation

    In April 2006, Christie’s was chosen by the Estate of Donald Judd to offer a Selection of Works from the Judd Foundation. Our team created an exhibition space on the 20th and 21st floors of Rockefeller Center exclusively dedicated to an exhibition of works from the Judd Foundation, personally designed by the artist’s son Flavin Judd in collaboration with Brett Gorvy. Donald Judd had a profound belief in the value of prolonged “looking” and the extended month-long timing of this exhibition, most unusual for a Christie’s pre-sale exhibition, enabled 11,000 visitors to view the works in only natural daylight.

    The resulting press coverage and publicity was phenomenal, with The New York Times heralding the sale as “the most beautiful survey of Judd’s work ever seen in New York,” complimenting Christie’s on our museum-quality display. Christie’s received the International Art Critic Association’s prestigious award, ‘Best Show in Alternative Space,’ for the Judd Foundation preview in May 2006, the same month that the sculptures realized an incredible result of $29.9 million (against a pre-sale low estimate of $17.4 million) at auction.

    Price Realised
    Pre-Sale Estimate Total: $17.4 million low estimate

    Total Price Realised: $29.9 million

    From the Charity

    “This exhibition is the most beautiful survey of Judd’s work ever seen in New York, and the first to be displayed under conditions of space and light that the famously demanding artist might have found satisfactory. Christie’s has made an unusual effort with the display… Christie’s has indeed behaved like a museum — or at least in a way more museums should act. Basically, it has put art before architecture in an uncluttered display that makes the work more optimally visible. The presentation is a temporary gift to the city, one that every museum professional should see.”

    - Roberta Smith, ‘Christie’s Pre-Sales Show: Light and Space Enough to Really See Judd’, The New York Times, 24 April 2006.

Services

About Christie’s Museum Services

Christie’s has been a leader in working with museums and non-profit institutions for over three decades. We were the first auction house to create a department dedicated to serving these organizations’ unique needs. Our experienced team partners with institutions large and small, including historical societies, libraries, universities and art museums. We handle projects of every size and subject matter, from single objects to large collections, from antiquities to historical manuscripts, from decorative arts to contemporary art.

We are also committed to working with our institutional clients to cultivate their patrons through sponsorships, in-kind support, educational events and programming.

About Christie’s Restitution

The Nazi-era (1933-1945) saw the unprecedented and orchestrated spoliation of art in Europe. Its consequences continue to resonate strongly in today’s art world as seventy years on, unrestituted works of art continue to come to light, often when offered for sale.

With the benefit of experience and insight developed over more than a decade, Christie’s takes very seriously its responsibility to ensure that we do not knowingly sell spoliated but unrestituted art works. We are also committed to the ongoing research and identification of such objects, and in helping resolve restitution claims for works consigned for sale. In this, we are privileged to work as both part of the art world and as part of the restitution community.

Corporate Social Responsibility

About Christie’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program

Art is central to Christie’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program and it constitutes the prism through which we consider our activities vis-à-vis the workplace, community, and environment.

We believe in the power of art in society and we endeavour to use our position in the art market as a positive force. To that end, Christie’s strives to manage our people and practices responsibly in order to leave a positive, enduring impact on society, and to enhance the communities in which we live and work through cultural stewardship and arts advocacy.


Christie’s Education

Christie’s Education — Your Career in the
Art World Starts Here

As leaders in the Arts and Culture community, whether educating our clients on the art of collecting, leading art forum lecture programs or offering short courses on the art market, education is a core value and primary mission for Christie's. Christie’s Education is unique in being wholly owned by Christie’s auction house, signaling the importance Christie’s places on practical experience of art through education as the key to professional success. Since we were founded in 1978, Christie's Education graduates have gone on to careers in the art world having experienced the highest quality education in the fields of Art History, Art Business, Art World Practice, Connoisseurship and the art market from the inside.