Christie's will offer Dana Schutz's 'The Fishermen (2021)' to benefit large-scale land conservation

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Christie's will offer Dana Schutz's 'The Fishermen (2021)' to benefit large-scale land conservation
Dana Schutz, The Fishermen. Oil on canvas, 90 x 96 in. Painted in 2021. Estimate: $400,000-600,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.

NEW YORK, NY.- On May 11, Christie’s New York 21st Century Evening Sale will offer Dana Schutz, The Fishermen to benefit Art into Acres. Donated by the artist, the proceeds of the work will support the permanent conservation of 2.5 million acres of land. These Indigenous-led conservation projects sustain wildlife habitat and migration on landscapes with high levels of biodiversity. As a strategic climate donation, this painting will leverage a cumulative 300% in matching funds from partner organizations including Andes Amazon Fund, Global Wildlife Conservation and the Wyss Foundation. The funds support formal protection status at a national level. Conserving intact ecosystems is one of the leading ways to maintain the planet’s ability to capture atmospheric carbon dioxide and to mitigate climate change. Land conservation is a natural climate solution, underlying efforts to protect at least 30% of the world by 2030 to reduce carbon emissions, conserve biodiversity and sustain nature. Christie’s has an on-going partnership with Art to Acres, an artist-founded initiative that supports the due diligence and funding of new national reserves wherein artworks a few feet in size support the permanent conservation of thousands of acres.

At the core of Schutz’s paintings is an abiding interest in expressing emotion. The brushwork makes the artist’s hand readily apparent, and these thick strokes form characters that are imbued with a psychological weight that swells within the canvas. In works like The Fishermen, the angst and pressure of an individual living during a global pandemic bursts forth with a riotous vigor. At the same time, though the colors are vibrant and verge on gruesome, there is an odd calm about the composition. Schutz paints a pregnant pause filled with all of tomorrow’s possibilities. Speaking about the present work, Schutz explained, “A boat can be like a contained world within the painting. In The Fishermen, the boat is confined, almost like a fruit bowl and the characters within seem to be similar to the creatures they are catching. They are rudderless, as an oar-like sunbeam seems to be pushing them downriver” (D. Schutz, in conversation with Christie’s, April 2021).

Dana Schutz, Artist, commented: “Art for Acres is an incredible organization. The work they do is astounding and urgent. It is such an honor to be donating The Fishermen to large-scale land preservation.”

Vivian Brodie, Specialist, Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s, noted: “This partnership represents a powerful initiative to transform works of art into physical acreage. The relationship between art and conservation does not get much more direct and tangible than this.”

Haley Mellin, Founder, Art to Acres, explained: “Both art and conservation are based in legacy. This painting will support the conservation of over 2,500,000 acres of intact, native land. One of the most consequential actions of this century is the protection of wildlands.”

Brian Sheth, Founder, Sheth Sangreal Foundation, commented: “The relationship between nature and art has existed in ways large and small since our shared journey on this planet began. The proceeds and matching funds from the sale will bolster our important work to conserve the crown jewels of forests around the world — the very lifeblood of our planet.”

Christie’s would like to thank to Dana Schutz, Ryan Johnson, Branwen Jones, Katherine Page, David Zwirner, Alec Smyth, Fan Zhong, Thomas Dane, Heath Lowndes, Sandy Heller, Vivian Brodie, Rachel Ng, AJ Kiyoizumi, Taylor Nemetz, Stephen Jones, Stella Kim, Brian Sheth, Joe Watson, Ryan Bidwell, Megan MacDowell, Enrique Ortiz, Adrian Forsyth, Wes Sechrest, Don Church, Alex Quintero, Jonathan Baillie, Laura Stewart, Sophia Cohen, Jason Schmidt, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C and the Museum of Modern Art for their efforts in this endeavor.

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