At 17,000 square feet, Sacha Jafri’s The Journey of Humanity (2020), an abstraction featuring drips, whorls, and splatters of various hues, is the world’s largest painting, as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. This week, the grand canvas was sold for a fittingly epic price at an auction in Dubai.
On Tuesday, The Journey of Humanity sold for $62 million at an auction held at Atlantis, The Palm hotel. The sale puts it among the most expensive artworks by a living artist ever sold at auction, and it is not far behind behind a $69 million Beeple NFT piece that sold at Christie’s earlier this month.
Jafri’s plan had initially been to slice up the painting and sell it in 60 segments to raise $30 million to support “global digital equality.” Those paintings were intended to have been sold in four auctions.
But the work instead ultimately sold as one, and it went to Andre Abdoune, chief executive of Altius Gestion International Holding, according to the Emirati outlet National. The proceeds will go a variety of organizations, including UNICEF, UNESCO, the U.A.E.’s Ministry of Education, and the Global Gift Foundation.
Jafri, who has not previously had a major presence at auction, painted The Journey of Humanity over the course of several months last year at the Atlantis. The resulting canvas includes more than 300 layers of paint and is the size of two football fields. He has previously sold his art to benefit charitable organizations, with actress Eva Longoria, musician Paul McCartney, and former U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly among his buyers.