The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has raised more than $60 million through the auction of an art collection bequeathed to the agency by a Belgian benefactor.
Last night's auction at Christie's in New York of 25 sculptures and paintings by modern masters raised $73 million, of which more than $60 million will go to the UN agency.
The collection belonged to René and Jane Gaffé and was left to UNICEF on Mme. Gaffé's death in October 2000.
Among the paintings, one by Fernand Léger sold for $16.7 million, a record for the artist. Two paintings by Joan Miro sold for $12.6 million, also a record, and $11 million, while a Picasso sold for $5 million.
"UNICEF is enormously grateful to have received this generous bequest from Mme. Gaffé," the agency said in a statement. "The monies raised at auction last night will allow UNICEF to help millions of children to be immunized, to go to school, and to be protected from conflict, HIV/AIDS and discrimination."