In the Bowie/Collector sale: one of Damien Hirst’s first spin paintings from 1995 with a long-winded title, painted with household gloss. Sotheby’s est £250k-350k.
◼ WHAT A BRACING INSIGHT into David Bowie’s creative mind! Only 30 items are displayed in an exhibition of the musician’s art collection in London, yet, whether or not you share Bowie’s taste, his sharp eye for a strong image is indisputable.
This exquisite mini-show at the auctioneer Sotheby’s provides a taster for the sale of 400 items from Bowie’s collection in November. Sotheby’s chairman describes the musician’s taste as “eclectic, unscripted, understated” and there’s not a dud in sight. What is immediately evident is strong work by artists who changed the future, from an impertinent Marcel Duchamp readymade, through Wyndham Lewis, David Bomberg, Harold Gilman, Henry Moore, Peter Lanyon, Kenneth Armitage and Frank Auerbach. The core is clearly driven by Bowie’s love of 20th-century British art, with international detours to acknowledge Basquiat and others, plus dozens of items of 20th-century furniture.
Sotheby’s Bowie/Collector previews in London from 20 July to 9 August, then tours to LA, NYC, HK and returns to London in the autumn for a ten-day full exhibition from 1 November and an auction in three parts.
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Bowie/Collector at Sotheby’s Ldn: the exhibition intro. Photos by Shapersofthe80s except where stated
À bruit secret (With Hidden Noise) by Marcel Duchamp 1964 . Est £180k-250k.
Sunrise in the Mountains by David Bomberg 1935, oil on canvas. Est £200k-300k
Glacier (Bone) by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham 1950, oil and pencil on board – one of Scotland’s leading abstract painters
Frances Christie, head of Sotheby’s Modern British Art, being interviewed in front of Air Power by Jean-Michel Basquiat 1984. Est £2.5 million–3.5 milion.
Circus Scene by Wyndham Lewis 1913-14, pen, ink, watercolour, gouache. Est £70k-100k
Witness by Peter Lanyon 1961, oil on canvas – one of two oils by the British abstract expressionist on show. (Pic © Gavin Evans)
Big Sur sofa by Peter Shire 1986 fronting the furniture display. Est £4,000–6,000
Flamboyant furniture by Ettore Sottsass from the 1981 Memphis collection – lamps, table and sideboard. Estimates from £800
“ The only thing I buy addictively is art ”
– David Bowie
A spokesman for Bowie’s estate said: “David’s art collection was fuelled by personal interest and compiled out of passion. He always sought and encouraged loans from the collection and enjoyed sharing the works in his custody. Though his family are keeping certain pieces of particular personal significance, it is now time to give others the opportunity to appreciate – and acquire – the art and objects he so admired.”
➢ David Bowie’s personal art collection to feature in three sales – at Sotheby’s
➢ Works the late singer quietly collected over the years go on display – feature and gallery at the Guardian
“ The singer, who died in January, studied art and design at technical college and once confessed to buying art “obsessively and addictively”, but the scale of the addiction had not been realised. His family say they are selling because they have not got the space to keep the collection. ”
➢ Bowie’s Art and Furniture Collection – New York Times
“. . . his collection of modern and contemporary British art [includes] paintings by John Virtue, Stanley Spencer, Leon Kossoff and Patrick Caulfield, as well as work by contemporary African artists and pieces of outsider art. Mr Bowie also owned pieces by major international figures: Duchamp’s sculpture À bruit secret, two Hirst “spin” paintings and … a 1960s stereo cabinet by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni.”
➢ Starman in the saleroom – Antiques Trade Gazette
“ The top lot is expected to be Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Air Power, an acrylic and oilstick on canvas from 1984 that has an estimate of £2.5–3.5million. Prices for the artist have increased dramatically since Bowie bought the 5ft 6in high painting at Christie’s for a premium-inclusive £78,500 in November 1995. ”
In the Bowie/Collector sale: Italian Brionvega Radiophonograph (model RR 126) by the Castiglioni brothers from 1965. Sotheby’s estimate £800-1,200