Charity Art Auction Raises Over £1.3m During Frieze Week

A charity art  auction held during Frieze week, in London, to raise funds for the Mimi Foundation cancer charity, founded by influential collector Myriam Ullens, resulted in a remarkable  £1,291,400 achieved for 8 star lots donated by some of the world’s most influential contemporary artists. A further £95,000 achieved on the final lot of the night – two weeks on The Red Dragon; the 52m long private yacht belonging to Mr and Mrs Ullens.

Simon de Pury, a long-time friend of the Ullens’, conducted the auction which saw each of the works reaching great numbers as prices were pushed up in honour of the cause. The first lot of the night, a gold piece of jewellery by Ugo Rondinone kicked off the sale, tripling its original estimate. A major work by Sterling Ruby, created specifically for the event, inspired an energetic bidding battle, reaching over its estimate to achieve more than £185,000. Tracey Emin’s neon The Kiss was Beautiful more than doubled its estimate, achieving £122,500. A pupil portrait of the winning bidder donated by Marc Quinn sold for £194,500.

The highest price of the evening was realised when Yan Pei-Ming’s Portrait of HRH The Prince of Wales, the first ever portrait of The Prince of Wales by a Chinese artist, sold for £302,500. The costs raised will be split between The Mimi Foundation and The Prince’s Drawing School.

Amongst the guests at the star-studded evening were participating artists Tracey Emin and Marc Quinn, who both introduced their works, collectors and gallerists and leading cultural figures; Prince Pierre d’Arenberg, Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi, Nicolai Frahm, Xavier Hufkens, Bruno Wang, Jimmy Lahoud, as well as designer John Pawson, and Phil Tinari, Director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing.

Guests at the Gala Dinner were encouraged to achieve the highest possible prices in support of the charity, after an invitation was offered by Guy and Myriam Ullens for the winning bidders on each artwork to attend a private dinner at Windsor Castle in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales.

The full list of auctioned art works:

Lot 1. Ugo Rondinone, Wednesday (ed 216), price achieved £25,000 Lot 2. Tracey Emin, The Kiss Was Beautiful, price achieved £122,500 Lot 3. Sterling Ruby, BC (4442), price achieved £225,400
Lot 4. Marc Quinn, Pupil Portrait, price achieved £194,500

Lot 5. Michelangelo Pistoletto, Vortice-Dittico, price achieved £158,500
Lot 6. Zhan Wang, Artificial Rock # 146, price achieved £164,500
Lot 7. Farhad Moshiri, Tenderness, price achieved £98,500
Lot 8. Yan Pei Ming, Portrait of HRH The Prince of Wales, price achieved £302,500

A further 33 lots will be sold in a dedicated auction within the Sotheby’s Contemporary Day Sale, from 14.00 on Friday 18th October, including works by Thomas Houseago, Liu Wei, Lionel Esteve, Entang Wiharso, Eko Nugroho, Ramin Haerizadeh, Zhan Wang, MADEIN, Liu Xiaodong, Qiu Zhijie, Rong Rong and Yang Shaobin.

The funds raised for the two auctions will help the Mimi Foundation continue to support thousands of patients annually across Europe in their fight against cancer, and its often aggressive treatments.

Myriam Ullens, Founder, The Mimi Foundation, said “The list of artists participating in the auction is testament to the importance of our cause, and is reflected in the remarkable figures generated by tonight’s sale. On behalf of all those experiencing cancer, and struggling with the effects of its treatment, I’d like to thank those who bought and bid.”

– Auction highlights –

Yan Pei-Ming, Portrait of HRH The Prince of Wales, 2012, £ 302,500
The first ever portrait of HRH The Prince of Wales to be commissioned from a Chinese artist. This collector’s item reached a fantastic sum which will be split between The Mimi Foundation and The Prince’s School for Drawing, two projects which His Royal Highness and Myriam Ullens both have long standing commitment and passion for collecting.

The Mimi Foundation

The Mimi Foundation was founded in 2004 by Baroness Myriam Ullens, as a result of her own experience with cancer. The charity’s mission is to improve the quality of life of people affected by cancer, more specifically during the entire period of their chemotherapy/ radiotherapy treatment. The Foundation installs and manages wellness centres within hospital wards, offering a wide variety of mental and physical therapies to help patients fight the disease on all fronts. Therapists work alongside a patient’s doctor to help devise a wellness plan. All treatments are completely free. The centres themselves are designed to offer a haven within the hospital, an escape from the challenges of daily life and the opportunity to meet other patients and seek advice.

The Mimi Foundation helps cancer patients face the disease and its effects with more serenity, building confidence, easing suffering and pain, with the ultimate aim to inspire hope.
The charity receives private and corporate donations, and organises a number of fundraising events across Europe annually. This is the first time the Mimi Foundation has organised a charity auction.

Myriam Ullens de Schooten

Myriam Ullens, along with her husband Baron Guy Ullens, is widely recognised as one of the most important collectors of contemporary art. The couple have devoted much of their lives to philanthropic activity and together they maintain a series of projects in Nepal including orphanages, child-nutrition centers and the Ullens School. The Ullens’ deep affection for China led them to build one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of Chinese art, and in turn establish the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, an art center that promotes artistic development in the region.


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