November 19, 2016

David Bowie's Personal Art Collection Auctioned Off For $30 Million


David Bowie was a musician, actor and icon, as well as a publisher, curator and magazine editor with Modern British art at the heart of those passions. Born in South London, it’s perhaps no surprise that he was drawn to chroniclers of the capital’s streets such as Harold Gilman and Frank Auerbach while he also collected St Ives-based painter Peter Lanyon in particular depth.

However, his collection is by no means limited to British art alone and also encompasses Contemporary African art, self-taught artists from Vienna’s Gugging institution, as well as designs by Ettore Sottsass and the revolutionary Memphis group.    

With many thanks to Sotheby's.         
More at the link.

Damien Hirst, Beautiful, shattering, slashing, violent, pinky, hacking, sphincter painting, 1995. Estimate £250,000–350,000.
Bursting with a magnificently dynamic energy in its pulsating kaleidoscope of reds, greens, blues and yellows, this is a vibrant and powerful example of Damien Hirst’s trademark ‘spin’ paintings. Hirst was one of only a handful of high-profile contemporary artists for whom Bowie publically expressed his admiration. “He’s different. I think his work is extremely emotional, subjective, very tied up with his own personal fears – his fear of death is very strong – and I find his pieces moving. 

Peter Shire, 'Big Sur' Sofa, 1986. Estimate £4,000–6,000.
Los Angeles-based sculptor and furniture maker Peter Shire was one of the original members of the Milan-based Memphis Group which is known for its Postmodern designs incorporating bold colours and shapes. Shire's sculptural Big Sur sofa is playfulness in both shape and structure. The sofa has the whimsy of an imaginary world, as though it would be part of the set design of a child's dream sequence. Shire explains why he enjoys blurring with the line between art and function.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Air Power, 1984. Estimate £2,500,000–3,500,000.
In a 1996 issue of Modern Painters magazine, Bowie wrote of Jean-Michel Basquiat: “I feel the very moment of his brush or crayon touching the canvas. There is a burning immediacy to his ever evaporating decisions that fires the imagination ten or fifteen years on, as freshly molten as the day they were poured onto the canvas.” The Bowie-Basquiat connection is best known through the lens of Julian Schnabel’s 1996 film Basquiat, in which Bowie played the role of Andy Warhol.

Frank Auerbach, Head of Gerda Boehm, 1965. Estimate £300,000–500,000.
Bowie loved the rich, sculptural effects of Auerbach’s paintings. In a 1998 interview in the New York Times, he said to art critic Michael Kimmelman: "I find his kind of bas-relief way of painting extraordinary. Sometimes I’m not really sure if I’m dealing with sculpture or painting.” And Bowie clearly felt a deep affinity with the artist, whose work could provoke in him a whole gamut of reactions: “It will give spiritual weight to my angst. Some mornings I’ll look at it and go, 'Oh, God, yeah! 

Johann Fischer, Meine Richtige Mutter in Jungen Jahren / Der Vater Meines Vorgangers, 1985. Estimate £2,000–3,000.
Trained as a baker and a veteran of the Second World War, Johann Fischer was committed to Klosterneuburg Psychiatric Hospital near Vienna in 1961. After 21 years at the hospital, he began to draw and was invited to the Haus der Künstler at the Atelier Gugging. Bowie visited the Atelier on a number of occasions to witness the raw creativity and complete individuality of these Outsider artists.

Damien Hirst with David Bowie, Beautiful, hallo, space-boy painting, 1995. Estimate £250,000–350,000.
David Bowie collaborated with Damien Hirst on Beautiful, hallo, space-boy painting in 1995, the same year the artist won the Turner prize. David Bowie recalled: "I had a ball. I felt like I was 3 years old again. It reminded me of Picasso’s attitude. You know, he set the parameters in the studio that produced a kind of playfulness out of which came a very pure thing" (New York Times, June 1998).

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