Leonardo DiCaprio, Christie's Raise Whopping $35 Million at Auction

The Hollywood Reporter

The 11th Hour charity auction benefiting the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation's environmental and wildlife conservation efforts reportedly brought in a staggering $35 million-plus Monday night.

DiCaprio, who is currently starring in The Great Gatsby, teamed up with Christie's to co-host what the auction house's Brett Gorvy recently called "the most important environmental charity ever staged."

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Thirty-three works by contemporary artists including Ed Ruscha, Julian Schnabel, Banksy, Elizabeth Peyton, Takashi Murakami and Raymond Pettibon were on the block, with many fetching record prices.

According to Christie's Twitter feed, the event saw 13 world auction records for individual artists, including Mark Grotjahn's Untitled (which sold for $6.51 million), Sterling Ruby's SP231 ($1.785 million), Pettibon's No Title (The Lower Half...) ($1.575 million), Robert Longo's Untitled (Leo) ($1.575 million) and Peyton's Leonardo ($1.05 million).

Among the stars in attendance were DiCaprio's Gatsby co-star and close friend Tobey Maguire, who put in the winning bid for Sergej Jensen's Untitled ($262,500, another artist record).

Bradley Cooper, Mark Ruffalo and Salma Hayek also were at the auction.

Art Market Monitor reported that a total of $35 million-plus was raised from the event, nearly double the $18 million that organizers were aiming to raise.

The money raised will be earmarked for conservation projects, selected by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, that protect key ocean- and land-based ecosystems as well as to engage local communities to protect their natural resources.

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DiCaprio himself donated one work, Andreas Gursky's Ocean V.

"Despite the great efforts by organizations all over the world, our planet is in trouble," DiCaprio said in a statement posted on his website when the auction was announced. "The modern world is placing enormous pressure on the very natural systems that sustain us; we are destroying our forests, polluting the air and water, overfishing our oceans and facing overwhelming extinction rates of plants and animals. Nature is abundant and it is resilient, but we have to take action now to protect our planet before it's too late."

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