Preparing for the Macmillan De’Longhi Art Auction

Maddalena Pinto, Account Manager, Clarion Communications

It’s six months since I joined Clarion, and the big event everyone seems to be talking about is the annual Macmillan De’Longhi Art Auction happening later this month (27 September).

Now in its fifth year, it seems to be gaining more and more momentum, both from a size point of view and more importantly from the donations we receive.

The thing is, I studied History of Art as a degree, and it’s always been my passion – but I knew that I wasn’t going to work in the art industry, so this event has given me the opportunity to mix work with pleasure.  I have been given the chance to speak to artists that I studied, admired and followed for so many years.

This event is so multifaceted, it’s difficult to know where to begin; it’s allowed me to research new, upcoming artists – something I haven’t done for many years – it’s put me in contact with industry experts such as Deborah Allan, the director of impressionist and contemporary art at Bonhams, and of course it’s made me stretch my PR skills to new levels.

Colin Firth by Rankin (2011) - one of the 59 artworks going under the hammer at the fifth annual Macmillan De'Longhi Art Auction.

I now regularly speak to the likes of Gavin Turk, Jonathan Yeo and other artists I have only ever had contact with through admiring their work in art galleries across the world.  I am amazed how passionate and accessible these world-famous personas are about using their art to help people.

I truly believe that art as an industry has often suffered from an elitist reputation, one that few can understand and even fewer can enter.  Yet what is exciting is that times are changing: the recession has brought a new perspective, as many understand that art is an investment, something that if chosen carefully and with a bit of luck will have a positive return on investment.  More and more people are exploring art collection as a safety net, something to fall back on.

Charity art auctions are increasing in popularity, raising crucial funds for causes around the world, and attracting a great number of world-famous names from the art world – all keen to support charities by donating unique pieces which would often be out of reach for many.  As we have found, these events attract audiences of wide-array, not only art lovers and connoisseurs but philanthropists.

I have to say that I cannot wait for September 27, to step into Bonhams and see these pieces on the walls, and to know that I had a part to get them there – and hopefully, just maybe, I will meet some of the artists themselves.  Then I too can join the office wall of fame.

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