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Press Release

Sotheby’s Auction to Support Families impacted by the crisis in Ukraine

Last updated 
  • Artists and gallerists unite to donate works to benefit the International Rescue Committee
  • Including offerings by 15 contemporary Ukrainian artists
  • Public exhibition at Sotheby’s London, 13-19 May

Later this month Sotheby’s online auction Contemporary Discoveries is set to raise funds for vital work undertaken by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in response to the crisis in Ukraine. The IRC's mission is to help people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster, to survive, recover, and gain control of their future.

Open for bidding from 13-19 May, 28 lots will be offered as part of Contemporary Discoveries, to benefit the IRC and to help support families affected by the crisis in Ukraine. The works will be on public view in Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries for the duration of the auction.

The selection of work highlights 15 contemporary Ukrainian artists, including those who have donated their work directly, among them Oksana Mas, Nazar Bilyk, and Maria Bilyan. Thirteen international artists have also donated pieces, including Richard Deacon, Rachel Kneebone and Zadok Ben-David.

All Ukrainian artists who have donated to the sale will receive back 100% of the Buyer’s Premium raised from the auction of their artworks. Sotheby’s is committed to empowering a diverse and inclusive art world by amplifying and uplifting artists, in this case from Ukraine’s thriving artistic community. All remaining funds raised from the sale will benefit the IRC.

The benefit auction has been made possible with thanks to numerous individuals in addition to the artists, including art experts and gallerists in Ukraine in locating works, and British dealer James Butterwick who has donated works for the auction.

Oksana Mas, Black Sphere against a Red Background (from the Mandala Dances series), 2013

Sebastian Fahey, Managing Director, Sotheby’s, said, “Thanks to these generous contributions from artists and gallerists, this sale will directly help those displaced by the crisis in the Ukraine, generating funds to support the herculean humanitarian relief efforts of the IRC. In tandem, the sale will also support Ukrainian artists practicing today, helping them to continue with their work in these difficult times. It is impossible not to be affected by the events in the Ukraine, and Sotheby’s will continue to use the platforms at its disposal to actively support those impacted.”

Ourania Dionysiou, Vice President, International Philanthropy and Partnerships, IRC, said, “With over 5 million people having fled Ukraine and the fastest displacement crisis in Europe since World War II, it is important to come together as a global community. We are grateful for Sotheby’s bringing together gallerists and artists to support the International Rescue Committee’s emergency response in Ukraine and Poland during this crucial time. This initiative builds on a legacy of impact and global partnership between the International Rescue Committee and Sotheby’s.”

Artists and luminaries previously came together for auctions at Sotheby’s, New York in 2019 and 2020 with a portion of proceeds benefiting the IRC’s work responding to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helping people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and rebuild their lives.

About Sotheby’s
Established in 1744, Sotheby’s is the world’s premier destination for art and luxury. Sotheby’s promotes access, connoisseurship and preservation of fine art and rare objects through auctions and buy-now channels including private sales, e-commerce and retail. Our trusted global marketplace is supported by an industry-leading technology platform and a network of specialists spanning 40 countries and 50 categories, which include Contemporary Art, Modern and Impressionist Art, Old Masters, Chinese Works of Art, Jewelry, Watches, Wine and Spirits, and Interiors, among many others.

* Estimates do not include buyer's premium or overhead premium. Prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer's premium and overhead premium and are net of any fees paid to the purchaser where the purchaser provided an irrevocable bid.

Images are available upon request

Stream live auctions and place bids in real time, discover the value of a work of art, browse sale catalogues, view original content and more at sothebys.com, and by downloading Sotheby's app for iOS and Android.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) helps people affected by humanitarian crises to survive, recover and rebuild their lives. We deliver lasting impact by providing health care, helping children learn, and empowering individuals and communities to become self-reliant, always with a focus on the unique needs of women and girls. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, we now work in over 40 crisis-affected countries as well as communities throughout Europe and the Americas. Learn more at www.rescue-uk.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.