Leading artists give to lockdown cancer auction

Forty-eight of the world’s leading artists, architects and designers have given works of art to be auctioned in aid of Maggie’s Cancer Care Centres.

In a partnership between the auction house Christie’s and Maggie’s, which supports people with cancer and their families, works by artists including Bridget Riley, Frank Auerbach (his Study for Chimneys in Mornington Crescent 1987 is the main image here, courtesy Christie's Images Ltd), Sonia Boyce and Mark Wallinger are to be sold in an online only nine day auction between July 15 and 23.

One of the organisers is Sandy Nairne, former director of the National Portrait Gallery. “These donated works are a magnificent response from artists, designers and architects to the vital needs of Maggie’s in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic” he said. “High quality architecture and art are at the heart of all the Maggie’s centres… The beautiful works generously donated to the auction represent the light and warmth of the centres and a determination to ensure they can serve everyone who needs them.”

Maggie’s was founded in 1995 by cancer victim Maggie Keswick Jenks and her architect husband Charles whose experience led them to develop centres of comfort for cancer sufferers and their families who should not “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying”. The first centre opened in 1996 and there are now 23 Maggie’s centres built in the grounds of hospitals.

It is hoped that the auction will raise £500,000 for the charity 

“We know the last few months have been incredibly traumatic for people living with cancer and delays and uncertainty over treatment has contributed to a huge ruse sand fear, stress and anxiety” said Laura Lee, once Maggie Jencks’s nurse and now the charity’s chief executive. “We have been supporting people over the phone, email and n our online community throughout the crisis and our centres are open for people visiting hospitals or by treatment.”

She said they had taken over 34,000 requests during the lockdown, but the knock-n events look set to last for a long time. It is estimated that missed screenings during the crisis have meant 24,000 cases going undiagnosed. “We are anticipating a spike in the coming months in people coming into our centres” she added. “All of our services have always been and will continue to be free, however like many charities we are feeling the financial impact of coronavirus. The artists, architects and designers who have donated works will allow us to raise essential funds to continue our vital work.”

Other the artists and designers in the auction include David Bailey with his famous photographic portrait of Paul McCartney and John Lennon, Christopher Le Brun, Antony Gormley, Lubaina Hamid, Michael Craig-Martin, Julian Opie, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Mario Testino, Edmund de Waal, Daniel Libeskind, Norman Foster and Thomas Heatherwick.


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