Culture: Visual Arts

Tracey Emin Stuns THT Auction

Tracey Emin

A packed auction room at Christie’s was stunned into silence last Thursday night as Tracey Emin spontaneously auctioned one of her famous neons at HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust’s 30th Anniversary Auction.

As bidding closed at £8,000 on one of her paintings, Tracey – who had flown from Miami to attend – upped the ante with the surprise auction lot. The winning bidder forked out £58,000 for their chance to get their hands the neon sign, which will be made in a colour of the buyer’s choosing and will read ‘now love is for you’.

Tracey picked up the mic, taking bidders skyrocketing through the tens of thousands to raise the stunning sum. Asked about the shock move afterwards, she simply commented: “I thought that was a bloody brilliant idea!”

The thrilled bidder, named Todd Ruppert, commented that the one of a kind piece would be a gift to his daughter, who would select the colour personally.

Tracey wasn’t the only celebrity to take to the stage. Nancy Dell’Olio brought her own inimitable flamboyance to her role, modelling a diamond bracelet by jeweller Tateossian. The bracelet sold for £12,000.

The evening raised an incredible £375,000 for Terrence Higgins Trust, with every penny going towards services for people living with and affected by HIV and sexual ill-health.

Genevieve Edwards, Director of Fundraising at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “The funds we raised at our 30th Anniversary Auction will help to keep vital services open for thousands of people with HIV. I am so grateful to everyone who came to the event and made it happen. Ours is not an easy cause to fundraise for, and yet our services have never been more in demand. The incredible generosity of the wonderful people who donated or bid for the lots on sale means the world to us.  It’s a testament to the determination of so many to carry on the vital work Terry Higgins’ friends began in his memory 30 years ago.”

In addition to the live auction at Christie’s, Terrence Higgins Trust is running a silent auction, which closes on 27th March at 6pm. People can text Auction30 to 88850 to bid for a range of fantastic lots, including a chance to meet the cast and puppets of the National Theatre’s epic production of War Horse; and a portrait of the late Princess Diana with sons Prince William and Harry, photographed by John Swannell.

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