Several artworks that were made from the ashes of the 2014 fire that occurred at the Glasgow School of Art have raised over £700,000 at auction.
25 leading international artists donated work made from the burnt remains of the GSA library and west wing in an auction for the Mackintosh Campus Appeal, a project that was formed in 2016 to raise money for the building’s restoration.
The auction, held at Christie’s Auction House in London, included pieces donated by nine prestigious Turner prize winners including Grayson Perry, who created a vase emblazoned with the words “Art is dead, long live art”. The highest earning piece was Jenny Saville’s work, Ashes, a charcoal drawing on canvas, which fetched £269,000.
After including the buyer’s premium, the Appeal will receive £570,000 in donations, bringing the project’s total amount up to £19 million. The remainder of the money will be raised from other donors.
The Mackintosh Building, named after Scottish artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, previously held over 90 oil paintings and the School of Art’s rare book collection, before the blaze began in May 2014. The fire started when flammable gases from a foam canister used in a student project were ignited as students were preparing for their final-year degree show.
Despite the damage, 90% of the library was spared, and after refurbishment it is expected to reopen to undergraduate students in spring 2019. Alan Horn, director of the Mackintosh Campus Appeal, said that the fundraiser has “exceeded expectations” and is “a testament to the hard work and effort put in by all the artists and partners.”