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Bonhams to auction art to aid Grenfell victims

February 19, 2018

Massimo Crisafi's "In My Hands" for Art4Grenfell. Image credit: Art4Grenfell


Auction house Bonhams is supporting the victims of London’s Grenfell Tower fire through art.

Bonhams is acting as the auctioneer for the Art4Grenfell charity sale that will see works donated by talents such as Boy George and Alison Hunter to the cause. Art is often used as a fundraising appeal, with works from eminent artists fetching significant sums for causes.

Bonhams was reached for comment.

Help for homeless
The Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 attacked the 27-story public housing complex in West London. While some residents were rescued, 71 people died in the fire.

Those who did not lose their lives lost their homes. Hundreds of households from Grenfell Tower and its neighboring Grenfell Walk needed new homes.

Looking to help those who were affected by the tragedy, artist Hercules Fisherman has organized an auction, asking a number of artists to donate work to the cause. More than 100 international artists gave pieces for the sale, including Andrew Logan, Chris Moon, Paul Freud, Darren Coffield and Jonty Hurwitz.

Work by Hercules Fisherman. Image credit: Art4Grenfell

Many of the works reference the tragedy, with images of flames or cityscapes. Others aim to uplift with butterflies or a raised fist paired with the word “resist.”

The Art4Grenfell sale will be hosted on Feb. 21 at the RBS headquarters, with Bonhams’ chairman of the U.K. and Asia Colin Sheaf acting as auctioneer.

One hundred percent of proceeds will go to the victims through the North Kensington charity K&C Foundation. The organization focuses its work on battling inequality in the London borough.

"This will be an exhilarating art auction, with many acclaimed and noteworthy iconic artists from the U.K. and abroad kindly donating a painting or work of art to honor the victims of this tragic loss of life in London,” Bonhams' Mr. Sheaf said in a statement.

The ticketed auction will also be broadcast via a live stream, allowing an international audience to tune in.

Philanthropy push
Art can be a powerful fundraising tool. Affluent consumers' willingness to spend on art for a cause has led to other recent charity auction.

For instance, Bonhams previously is teamed up with Artwise and the David Ross Foundation to raise money for the fight against Parkinson’s.

Cure3, the brainchild of Artwise, will bring together more than 50 artists for a selling exhibition to benefit The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, an organization that helps to fund research that aims to cure the neurodegenerative disease. There are currently 10 million people diagnosed with Parkinson’s worldwide, making this a cause most prospective buyers can relate to (see story).

Personal fulfillment is the number one reason ultra-high-net-worth individuals indulge in philanthropy, according to a new survey by Wealth-X.

Philanthropy has long been a hobby of the world’s wealthy, and even the global recession of the late 2000s has done little to stop the trend from continuing. However, as income inequality remains a global conversation, brands will need to appeal to these philanthropic habits and define themselves on these values rather than status and price to appeal to UHNWIs (see story).