Jeff Koons and Banksy Raise Millions at amfAR Auction in Cannes

May 26, 2015

The star-studded event of the Cannes Film Festival has ended a couple of days ago in France, celebrating yet another occasion where film and entertainment meet, greet and pick up awards. Like every year, it was not just about movies and celebrities, as the 22nd annual amfAR’s Cinema Against AIDS benefit was held at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes. In an auction of contemporary art hosted by one of the world’s leading charities supporting HIV/AIDS research, a great number of A-listers, including actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Harvey Keitel, Adrien Brody, Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and fashion designer Tom Ford collected over €33 million for a good cause.

Jeff Koons and Banksy Raise Millions at amfAR Auction in Cannes
Jeff Koons and Banksy of Leonardo DiCaprio star at the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS charity auction in Cannes. Image via

Celebrities and Art at AmfAR in Cannes

Hosted by auctioneer Simon de Pury, the amfAR auction was highlighted by a huge Jeff Koons sculpture called Coloring Book, part of the artist’s Celebration series, which sold for €12 million ($13.2 million). This piece was on display at the hotel during the event, for all visitors to enjoy. Also successful at the auction were an Andy Warhol painting of Elizabeth Taylor, sold to actress Eva Longoria for $600,000, which was also the price of an Alexander Calder which went to Frances McDormand. One of the most famous art collectors among celebrities, Leonardo DiCaprio, also marked the evening by donating a work by Banksy from his private collection, titled Smiling Copper on Cardboard, which managed to go over €1 million - almost twice as much as a signed, $800,000 drawing L’Etreinte by Pablo Picasso. The statue titled Donna su Cavallo by the renowned artist Fernando Botero, was sold for $2.2 million.

In Cannes, A Night to Remember For Koons and Banksy

Accompanying the auction items of the evening was a private portrait sitting with legendary fashion photographer Mario Testino. Taking the stage with top models Karlie Kloss, Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Jourdan Dunn, he helped sell the experience for nearly $1,000,000. In a less artworks-related manner, Carine Roitfeld hosted a black and white fashion show, Leo DiCaprio and singer Andrea Bocelli offered private dinners, and musicians Mary J. Blige, Imagine Dragons and Charli XCX all performed at the event. Although the sale did not reach the record of $35 million achieved at last year’s auction, it was a definite success and a great announcement of next year’s, already highly anticipated round.

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Featured image: Coloring Book by Jeff Koons, installed in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Image via Flickr