Auction of Jeff Koons sculpture raises over £10mn for Ukraine

Melanie May | 1 July 2022 | News

Jeff Koons Balloon Monkey (Magenta). CreditL Christies Images Ltd 2022
Credit: CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2022

Jeff Koons’ Balloon Monkey (Magenta) sculpture sold for £10,136,500 at Christie’s on 28 June, raising funds for humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

Donated for sale by Victor and Olena Pinchuk, the proceeds will be used to support soldiers and civilians wounded in the war who require prosthetics, medical treatment and rehabilitation.

Katharine Arnold, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe said:

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“As the war in Ukraine continues, wreaking devastation across the country, I could not be more honoured to have worked with Victor and Olena Pinchuk on the sale of Jeff Koons’ seminal sculpture Balloon Monkey (Magenta), to realise a total of £10,136,500. The largest and final piece in the artist’s celebrated series of balloon animals, it stands as a gleaming symbol of solidarity. The balloon animal reminds us that the ordinary course of life and its simple pleasures are absent from the lives of those living through war.”

Victor and Olena Pinchuk are two of the co-founders of the Ukraine Relief Fund and also have their own foundations. Through these and other means, they have so far raised more than $30 million in aid of Ukraine since the war started. This has provided medical kits, armoured ambulances, support for 40 hospitals and other forms of humanitarian assistance.

Another auction last month saw the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize medal awarded to independent Russian journalist and Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov fetch $103.5 million, with all proceeds going to UNICEF.