A Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur Just Bought the World’s Largest Painting, by Artist Sacha Jafri, for a Whopping $62 Million
Last fall, Sacha Jafri set a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest painting entitled The Journey of Mankind. Now he’s sold it at auction for an equally high price: $ 62 million. The figure makes him the fourth most expensive artist alive – behind Jeff Koons, David Hockney and the digital artist Beeple.
Proceeds from the sale of the painting, which is approaching Beeple’s headline sale of $ 69 million to NFT as of earlier this month, will benefit Dubai Cares, Unicef, UNESCO and the Global Gift Foundation, according to ARTnews.
The eye-catching figure comes at a time when unknown names are fetching higher public prices than long-standing blue-chip figures like Gerhard Richter and Damien Hirst. The demand was mainly driven by cryptocurrency flush investors. The buyer of Jafri’s work is French crypto businessman Andre Abdoune.
It took Jafri eight months to paint the 17,000-square-foot piece, which includes roughly six tennis courts, four basketball courts, or two soccer fields. Sometimes he worked 20 hours a day at Atlantis, the Palm Hotel in Dubai. while it was in lockdown.
The journey of humanity on September 23, 2020 in the Emirate city of Dubai. Jafri was banned from the Atlantic, the Palm, Hotel for months because of the pandemic. The $ 62 million sale of the painting will fund health and education initiatives for children living in poverty worldwide. Photo by Giuseppe Cacace / AFP via Getty Images. “Width =” 1024 “height =” 681 “srcset =” https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/03/GettyImages-1228682849-1024×681. jpg 1024w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/03/GettyImages-1228682849-300×200.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/ 03 / GettyImages-1228682849-50×33.jpg 50w “sizes =” (maximum width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px “/>
“I was stuck in Dubai and wanted to create something poignant, something that would mean something,” Jafri told CNN.
The record-breaking final product was verified by Guinness in September as the “Largest Art Canvas” and unveiled in February. A selection of the painting is currently on view in the Leila Heller Gallery in Dubai. (Neither the artist nor the gallery responded to Artnet News’ request for comment at the time of going to press.)
Jafri claims to have raised $ 60 million for charity by selling his art over his 18-year career, Emirati Outlet the National reports. His collectors include US President Barack Obama, members of the British royal family, Richard Branson, Paul McCartney, David Beckham, George Clooney and Eva Longoria.
The artist Sacha Jafri and his Guinness world record picture The Journey of Mankind. Photo by Francois Nel / Getty Images.
This painting is inspired by artwork for children, with Jafri requesting drawings from children around the world about their experiences during the pandemic. The 44-year-old artist has received contributions from over 140 countries addressing both isolation and connection issues.
“I was in a deep meditative state. I’ve looked through everything [children’s] Work – I paint from the subconscious…. There are no sketches. There were no drawings, ”Jafri told the BBC. “I literally poured paint in and then put another layer on top and another layer, another layer, another layer and just felt through it until something magical happened.”
It was also physically demanding work with the artist constantly bending down to paint on the hotel ballroom floor. Jafri injured his pelvis and feet and had to undergo emergency spine surgery. Even so, he insisted, with the ultimate goal of raising $ 30 million for charity.
Sacha Jafri is working on his record breaking painting The Journey of Mankind. Photo by Giuseppe Cacace / AFP via Getty Images.
In the end, Jafri more than doubled this amount thanks to the buyer Andre Abdoune, Managing Director of Altius Gestion International Holding. At the auction at the Palm, he agreed to buy the entire piece, which Jafri originally intended to sell in 70 smaller sections over four auctions.
“I come from a poor family and sometimes I knew what it felt like to have nothing to eat,” Abdoune told Agence France Presse. “The painting was very powerful when I saw it and it would have been a mistake for me to separate the pieces.”
A visitor gazes at fragments of the Dubai-based painting by British contemporary artist Sacha Jafri The Journey of Humanity on February 25, 2021. Photo by Karim Sahib / AFP via Getty Images.
According to the BBC, Adboune plans to build a museum for the painting and set up a charitable foundation with Jafri.
Previously, Jafri’s high water mark at auction for a 2019 auction in Ravenel, Taiwan was only TWD 2.16 million (USD 70,745), according to the Artnet Price Database. This painting was measured in inches of course, not in sports facilities.
“Sacha Jafri: The Journey of Mankind and the 18 Year Old Retrospective Collection” is currently on view at Leila Heller Gallery, Dubai I-87, Alserkal Avenue.
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