Christie’s Planning Major Auction With Leonardo DiCaprio

(Courtesy Patrick McMullan)

(Courtesy Patrick McMullan)

Christie’s has planned a major philanthropic auction with the actor Leonardo DiCaprio and his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation that is estimated to raise between $15 and $20 million to benefit what a leaked promotional item called “compelling environmental projects selected by [the foundation] and Christie’s.” Early talks had the auction scheduled for May 8 and a source close to the auction said it will reportedly feature work by Mark Grotjahn, Carol Bove, John Currin and Elizabeth Peyton, among others. (Visitors to Ms. Peyton’s recently opened exhibition at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise may have noticed a portrait of Mr. DiCaprio in the show.)

“The world’s forests, oceans and biodiversity provide us with innumerable benefits like oxygen to breathe, clean water to drink, and an abundant food supply,” Mr. DiCaprio wrote in a letter to artists asking for donations, on his foundation’s stationary, the promotional item mentioned above. “And yet our planet and these vital ecosystems that sustain life are under enormous pressures from modern civilization.”

The letter says that Mr. DiCaprio hopes to sell between 10 and 15 works at the auction, though that number may now be closer to 30 (and the date may have also changed). In it, Mr. DiCaprio thanks François Pinault and “my friend [specialist] Loic Gouzer” for their help in organizing the auction. A Christie’s representative said it has not yet been decided where the money raised at the auction will go.

Aside from the money raised the night of the auction, Mr. DiCaprio notes in his letter, his partnership with Christie’s “will also provide an opportunity to engage some of the wealthiest and most influential individuals around the world on these critical environmental issues.” Christie’s reportedly plans to waive its auction fees for the event.

Updated 3:58 Updated with a comment by Christie’s.