Charity auction raises more than €2m for French healthcare workers

Paris-based auction house Piasa hosted online sale of 370 works donated by artists, designers and galleries

Claire Tabouret's Les Débutantes (bleu de minuit, 2014)

An online charity auction held by the Paris-based auction house Piasa has raised more than €2.4m for French health workers, enabling medical professionals at the forefront of the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis to buy protective equipment.

All of the proceeds from the sale of the 370 works—donated by artists, designers and galleries—will be given to Protège Ton Soignant (Protect your Caregiver), a collective of doctors, entrepreneurs, and engineers; Piasa did not charge fees for buyers or sellers. The top lot—a painting by Claire Tabouret entitled Les Débutantes (bleu de minuit, 2014)—sold for €207,000.

Dealers including Kamel Mennour and Thaddaeus Ropac donated works to the auction. Mennour gave six works including a neon piece by Bertrand Lavier, Bleu (2019), which fetched €52,000 (est. €25,000-€30,000). Ropac donated Imran Qureshi's painting This Day (2017) which sold for €31,000 (est. €40,000-€50,000).

Mennour tells The Art Newspaper: “I was so happy about the sale; it was an impressive amount. It shows we can all help each other. It was a shared goal.” Asked how the art world will change, he says: “Perhaps people will not race to get from one fair to another. It can’t be like it was before. I have been in self-isolation and am OK.”

The collector and president of Piasa, real estate entrepreneur Laurent Dumas, organised the sale which lasted from 3 to 5 April. In a statement, he outlines how the money will be allocated. “The large French healthcare establishments are undoubtedly more assured of the supply of materials and various needs, but many secondary establishments in the Ile de France or in the regions have cruel shortages in many areas. These range from respirators and other equipment, [to] masks, food, gowns, coffee machines [and] microwave ovens,” he says.