Leonardo DiCaprio Plays Auctioneer, Raises $39 Million For Environmental Charity

When Leonardo DiCaprio tells you to bid, you bid. The star of The Great Gatsbyacted as the auctioneer for a Christie’s charity auction this weekend and helped raise nearly $39 million.

According to the Telegraph, the auction was attended by celebrity guests like Mark Ruffalo, Bradly Cooper, Tobey Maguire and Salma Hayek, who bid on artwork from more than 30 living artists. The 11th Hour Charity auction raised $38,827,000. The money will go to the Leonardo DiCaprio foundation and will be used to fund several environmental projects.

Before the auction, DiCaprio told bidders to “bid as if the fate of the planet depended on us.”

DiCaprio said: “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.”

Christie’s, which billed the event as “the most important charity action ever,” said that several world records were broken during the auction. Nine pieces of art were sold for more than $9 million. The most expensive piece, an “Untitled” work by American painter Mark Grotjahn, sold for more than $6.5 million. A portrait of the actor painted by Elizabeth Peyton sold for $1 million.

Loic Gouzer, international specialist at Christie’s and the head of the sale, said: “We explained that we wanted great works and they were very reactive because of the cause. The artists are very sensitive to the fact that we are destroying our planet.”

TVNZ reports that the auction took in nearly twice the pre-sale estimate. After the auction, DiCaprio said: “All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you.”

[Image Via DFree / Shutterstock.com]