DiCaprio and Christie’s auction house raised the funds through a charity art auction named The 11th Hour, as well as donations. A total of 33 words were sold at the event, which was organised by The Great Gatsby actor, setting 13 records for artists including Carol Bove, Joe Bradley, and Mark Ryden.
$5 million in matching donations, plus bonus gifts from generous donors saw the total sum rise to $38.8 million, with all proceeds going to The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
“All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you,” DiCaprio told auction-goers.
At the opening of the auction, DiCaprio, who has been advocating environmental issues through his foundation since 1988, has encouraged the audience to dig deep into their pockets.
“Bid as if the fate of the planet depended on us,” he urged.
Among the works that sold was “Ocean V” by Andreas Gursky, donated by DiCaprio, which sold for $600,000. The actor himself bought an acrylic on canvas by Takashi Murakami for $700,000, while a portrait of DiCaprio painted by Elizabeth Peyton sold for $1 million.