Sotheby’s Is Auctioning Off David Bowie’s Art Collection
Portrait of David Bowie by Gavin Evans. © Gavin Evans, courtesy of Sotheby’s.
Some 400 works collected by the late David Bowie will be auctioned by Sotheby’s in a three-part sale this coming November, the auction house announced on Thursday. The collection includes pieces by
Bowie also took an interest in
Though hailed and beloved for his revolutionary musical career, Bowie’s infatuation with the visual arts is less well-known. “Art was, seriously, the only thing I’d ever wanted to own,” the musician remarked to the New York Times in 1998. Four years earlier, Bowie had been invited to join the editorial board of Modern Painters, for which he interviewed seminal British artists such
This genuine personal interest in the arts manifested in a collection that reflects Bowie’s interests, not just those of the market. “He could have gone out and bought a
Bowie lived in New York from 1993 until his death but, upon being diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2014, he paid one last visit to London. The numerous 20th-century British artists in his collection suggest his home was never far from his thoughts—or his music. “My God, yeah! I want to sound like that looks,” Bowie said of Auerbach, whose Head of Gerda Boehm (1965) is estimated at £300,000–500,000. Auerbach fans may recognize the work from a 2001 Royal Academy retrospective of the artist, to which Bowie lent the piece anonymously.
But even when collecting works by artists from his homeland, Bowie looked for the unexpected. “He liked the idea of artists who were participating in wider international movements but gave them a particularly British twist,” says Hucker. Though the Bowie family “are keeping certain pieces of particular personal significance,” according to a spokesman for the estate, “it is now time to give others the opportunity to appreciate—and acquire—the art and objects he so admired.” If one wants to know exactly how art influenced Bowie, it’s best to listen to the man himself: “It has always been for me a stable nourishment. I use it,” he said in the past. “It can change the way that I feel in the mornings. The same work can change me in different ways, depending on what I’m going through.”
Isaac Kaplan is an Associate Editor at Artsy.
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