Film star Russell Crowe made AU $3.7m (£2.1m) from a high profile ‘divorce auction’ in Sydney on Saturday.
The five hour event took place on the actor’s 54th birthday, as well as 15th anniversary of his marriage to now ex-wife Danielle Spencer, with whom he has two sons. Announcing the auction last month, the veteran performer said he wanted to unburden himself of personal possessions and film memorabilia in the wake of his recently completed divorce, and move “forward into fresh air”.
The New Zealand-born performer told the Sydney Daily Telegraph:
“…this collection probably equates to three rooms full of things I’ll no longer have to care for, document, clean, tune and insure.”
The auction, entitled The Art of Divorce, was staged by Sotheby’s Australia. and attracted major interest, especially from film fans given the number of props and memorabilia on offer. The most popular lots unsurprisingly came from Crowe’s biggest hit, the 2000 Gladiator directed by Ridley Scott. His character’s embossed breastplate sold for $125,000 (£68,000), his sword for $70,000 (£37,976), and a replica Roman chariot for $65,000 ($35,263).
Crowe himself appeared at the spent, sporting a grey beard and bounding on stage after the audience had been cajoled into singing Happy Birthday. The occasional musician then suggested that the buyer of an 1890 Italian violin used in the 2003 film Master and Commander “might want to lend it to a young musician so it carries on and starts to play in the concert halls around the world”. Crowe then gestured to Bridget O’Donnell, a member of the Australia Youth Orchestra, suggesting her in particular, before she joined him on stage and played extracts from the film’s soundtrack on the violin in question. It went for $135,000 (£73,238).
The evening’s biggest price tags were reserved, however, for actor’s collection of modern art. One piece, a painting by Australian artist Charles Blackman called The Suitor, sold for no less than $360,00 (£195,304).