David Bowie's art collection
David Bowie owned an extensive private art collection included paintings, sculpture and furniture. Artist and writer Matthew Collings characterized the collection as "bohemian, romantic, expressive, emotional art". Bowie was described by an art advisor as "a true collector. His acquisitions were not commercially motivated; he cared about the art, not the market. His was a deeply personal, eclectic collection, reflecting his British roots and his real passion for art."
Notable artists and works in the collection
Notable artists included in Bowie's collection included:
- Outsider Art from the Gugging Group
- Frank Auerbach - 1965 Head of Gerda Boehm (l.)
- Jean-Michel Basquiat - 1984 Air Power - Year unknown "A Bruit Secret"
- David Bomberg
- Achille Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni - 1960s stereo cabinet record player
- Patrick Caulfield
- Marcel Duchamp
- Harold Gilman - A London Interior
- Erich Heckel
- Damien Hirst
- Ivon Hitchens
- Peter Howson
- Leon Kossoff
- Peter Lanyon
- Wyndham Lewis
- Memphis Milano
- Henry Moore
- Odd Nerdrum
- Winifred Nicholson
- Méret Oppenheim
- Francis Picabia
- Peter Paul Rubens
- Egon Schiele
- William Scott
- Ettore Sottsass
- Stanley Spencer
- Graham Sutherland
- William Turnbull
- Euan Uglow
- John Virtue
- Jack Butler Yeats
Bowie himself was a painter and sculptor, and works by his own hand are part of his collection. This includes a series of self-portraits he painted in 1995, one of which he used as the cover to his album Outside.
Around 350 pieces of art from Bowie's collection were put up for auction in November 2016. None of Bowie's own art was part of the auction, and the proceeds from the sale went to Bowie's family. An estimate by Sotheby's auction house estimated the value of the collection for sale at around US $13 million. Prior to the auction, some of the pieces were shown in Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong. The pieces up for auction represented about two-thirds of Bowie's entire art collection.
Bowie's family sold the collection because they "didn't have the space" to store it.
The auction exceeded expectations, and the entire collection was sold over two days for £32.9 million (app. $41.5 million), while the highest-selling item was Jean-Michel Basquiat’s graffiti-inspired painting Air Power, sold for £7.09 million. Exhibitions of the works in London alone attracted over 51,000 visitors, the highest attendance for any pre-sale exhibition in London. The auctions themselves were attended by 1,750 bidders, with over 1,000 more bidding on line.
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