The inaugural Impact Gala at Sotheby’s in New York was a hit and raised $1 million on its first day for action against climate change.
The Impact Gala is a social-conscious project of Sotheby’s, led by photographer Sebastião Salgado. All funds from the gala are supposed to go towards Instituto Terra – a project by Salgado that aims to re-introduce wildlife in Brazil. Salgado’s wife, Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado, also leads the project. Annie Leibovitz was the co-chair of the gala, while Charles Stewart (CEO, Sotheby’s) and his wife were credited as champions.
The debut day of the Impact Gala held 3 auctions (one of which was live) featuring works by Salgado. On the exhibition floor of the auction house, 50 photographs by Salgado were displayed for the sale. The photographs ranged from covering humans and animals to landscapes and sceneries. They came from throughout Salgado’s career – from the 70s to the present. The entire collection is titled ‘Magnum Opus’ and will be up for sale until October 12.
While the gala has many days to go, the first day itself raised an impressive $1 million. The most notable of these were the portraits sittings up for auction by Annie Leibovitz and which she herself bid $150,000 on. She added that anyone who could match her bid would get a free portrait sitting from her. In the end, 2 portrait sittings were sold for $150,000 each while a third was sold for $100,000. Leibovitz and Salgado have known each other for years, beginning from their days at Rolling Stone.
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Aside from the photographs, the Impact Gala has also organized an NFT sale of Salgado’s works. Tree of Life is a single NFT which is a 4-minute video collage of various photographs of Indigenous Amazonians. There is also a collection of 5,000 unique NFT photographs by Salgado, each being sold at merely $250.