Victor and Olena Pinchuk will present Jeff Koons' seminal sculpture Balloon Monkey (Magenta) (2006-2013) with an estimated cost of $7.6-12.6 million to raise vital funds for humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
Victor Pinchuk Foundation said on Tuesday that the artwork will be presented for sale at Christie's on June 28, and in particular, the proceeds will be used to assist soldiers and civilians gravely wounded by war who urgently require prosthetics, medical treatment and rehabilitation to recover as much quality of life as possible.
"Jeff Koons' Balloon Monkey (Magenta) is a celebration of life. We put life and hope against death and suffering. In art and in action. We are grateful to Jeff and to Christie's. They help us transform at least some of our boundless gratitude to our fellow Ukrainians into help and support," Victor Pinchuk is quoted in the press release.
According to Koons, it is a sincere privilege to have his artwork Balloon Monkey (Magenta) auctioned at Christie's to support extraordinary efforts of the Pinchuk family in providing charitable assistance to Ukraine, which is suffering from the war started by Russia.
"Art's true value is to be of service to humanity and there could not be a higher calling at this moment than to support the Ukrainian people," the author of the artwork said.
According to the press release, The sculpture will be exhibited in St James' Square, adjacent to Christie's Headquarters in London, inviting audiences across the capital to come together for a moment of contemplation from June 14 to July 3, 2022.
In 2008, Koons' sculpture Balloon Flower (Magenta) was similarly installed in St James's Square. Much admired in its garden setting in central London, the artwork set a record at the time for Jeff Koons, realising $25.7 million. In November 2014, Balloon Monkey (Orange), from the same series as the present lot, achieved a price of $25.9 million.
Catherine Arnold, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie's Europe, said the work currently up for auction is the largest and final piece in the artist's celebrated series of balloon animals.
"In the early morning of February 24th, the life of all Ukrainians was changed forever… We need the world to help us, to support our efforts, and stand with us in this fight against evil. Jeff Koons' Balloon Monkey (Magenta) will be auctioned on June 28th to remind the world that the war is not over yet and to raise funds for prostheses and other urgent medical aid that saves so many Ukrainian lives," Olena Pinchuk said.
According to UN data, since the beginning of the war, civilian casualties have already reached 9,400, of which almost 4,300 have been killed, including 272 children. The actual figures are considerably higher, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration.
According to the Pinchuk Foundation, about 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been injured at the frontline, and every day, an average of 4 children and 500 soldiers are injured.