By Erica Crompton
A Gerhard Richter painting donated to CBM by an anonymous donor has raised 44,500 Euros at a Sotheby’s auction.
The artwork exhibits German painter Richter’s familiar layered and squeegee technique – a cool, colour photographic landscape with a spell of speedy, but splendid brush strokes spanning the surface and distorting the vision.
The sale of the piece last month will go toward cataract surgeries in developing countries, the secret art admirer donating the artwork to the German charity Christoffel-Blindenmission (CBM) for a good cause. The proceeds will finance sight-saving surgeries for 1,483 people who were blind due to cataract.
The inspiration behind the auction of Richter’s artwork is German ophthalmologist Dr. Omid Kermani. He and his colleagues from the eye-clinic Augenklinik am Neumarkt in Cologne already support the work of CBM. The ophthalmologists started a project called “eyes for eyes” to fund cataract surgeries in Nepal. For every cataract operation he and his colleagues perform they donate the money for an operation in Nepal. In the CBM - supported hospitals in Lahan and Biratnagar (Nepal), a staggering 97,000 people received cataract operations in 2014 and regained their sight.
Named “Untitled (23 'Jan. 2015)” the artwork is an oil on colour photograph, sized 11.1 cm by 16.4 cm and was auctioned in the “Contemporary Art Day Auction” in London on the 11th of February. “This artwork helps us to save eyesight! A cataract surgery improves lives sustainably,” said CBM-Director Dr Rainer Brockhaus. “We thank the donor and the acquirer of the painting very much”. Sotheby’s also contributed to the good cause, by arranging all the logistics, including transportation, free of charge and waiving their commission, enabling all profits to go directly to the charity.
Worldwide, there are approximately 20 million people who are blind due to cataract. It costs just 30 Euro to perform a cataract surgery at CBM-projects in developing countries. Ophthalmologist Dr. Kermani adds: "Eyesight is so precious. It costs so little to give it back."