Oh! You Pretty Things: David Bowie's entire secret £10million art collection is displayed online for the first time ahead of auctions at Sotheby's
- Singer's extensive art collection will be auctioned at Sotheby's with pieces between £800 and £500,000
- Fans of the iconic star will be able to see the works that influenced him in a 10-day exhibition beforehand
- Bowie frequently lent parts of his collection to art houses but this is the full collection of 350 pieces
David Bowie, by Gavin Evans. The singer's extensive collection is up for auction after an exhibition in Sotheby's
Hundreds of pieces from David Bowie's personal collection have been unveiled ahead of an exhibition and auction next month.
Bowie managed to keep his life as an art collector almost entirely secret as he made a career as a musician and cultural icon.
But the lesser-known side of his life will be fully revealed when auction house Sotheby's stages 'Bowie/Collector' - a three-part sale comprising around 400 items from his private collection, and in preparation they have published the catalogue of his pieces.
The collection includes a ‘spin’ painting that Bowie created in collaboration with Damien Hirst, an altarpiece by Renaissance master Tintoretto as well as works by 20th Century British Masters such as David Bomberg, Stanley Spencer, Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff.
There will be more than 350 pieces on display with about 200 of those then auctioned. Some of the singer's collection has been kept by his family.
Dalston Junction No. 3, by Leon Kossof, above, is one of the pieces on display, expected to fetch between £60,000 and £80,000 at auction. This image shows a view of the rail tracks between Canonbury and Hackney observed every day from Kossof's studio between 1972 and 1975, and a part of London that resonated with him
David Bowie collaborated with Damien Hirst on Beautiful, hallo, space-boy painting in 1995, the same year the artist won the Turner prize. During the process, Bowie said he felt like a three-year-old again. This is one of the most expensive pieces, valued at more than £250,000
Bowie bought John Bellany's Fishermen in the Snow in 1993 as one of the first pieces he bought at auction. The singer was fascinated by Bellany's upbringing in the traditional fishing community of Port Seton, Scotland. This piece will fetch between £12,000 and £18,000
Ivon Hitchens' painted The Boathouse No.3 above, in 1948, shortly after moving to Sussex when his London home and studio were bombed in 1940. He said his paintings were to be listened to, like music. This piece should fetch between £60,000 and £80,000
Bowie would frequently loan pieces from his extensive collection to museums, but the full range of the pieces he owned reveals the deep personal and intellectual connection he had with the works.
The pieces on display and up for auction range from post-war British avant-garde painting centred at St Ives, to German Expressionism and works created in the aftermath of the first democratic elections in South Africa.
They show an apparent fascination the singer had with different upbringings, as he collected pieces by artists from along the south west coast, especially St Ives, and from John Bellany, an artist brought up in Port Seton in Scotland.
The Bowie-Basquiat connection is known through the 1996 film Basquiat, in which Bowie played the iconic role of Andy Warhol who mentored the young artist. Above is Untitled, painted in 1984 and acquired by Bowie the year before the film came out in 1995, thought to be able to fetch more than £500,000
St Ives Harbour, by Winifred Nicholson, was painted in 1928 as part of a collection by three artists who escaped the city for a seaside change of pace. It will take between £50,000 and £70,000
Graham Sutherland's Thorn Bush created in crayon, charcoal and ink, is thought to be able to fetch between £25,000 and £35,000, shown above left. Bowie's collection does not just include paintings, but this vase with leaping fish design, by Bernard Leach and the Japanese potter Shoji Hamada, shown above right. Leach and Hamada opened a pottery studio to challenge the ideas of the declining craft in the country
Bowie's love of pieces from the Cornish coast continued with this Peter Lanyon work called Inshore Fishing, above left, from 1953, thought to be worth between £60,000 and £80,000. This is one of three works the singer loaned to Tate St Ives. Above right is a German expressionist piece by Erich Heckel, worth £30,000-£50,000, and one of 11 prints by the artist from Bowie's collection
Bowie visited the first Johannesburg Biennale in 1995, less than a year after the first democratic elections in South Africa that marked the end of apartheid. This piece, between £2,000 and £3,000, is by Willie Bester and is called What Happened in the Western Cape? a reflection on the artist's life as 'other coloured' in the Apartheid regime
The pieces in the collection range from £2,000 up to more than £500,000 and include a piece Bowie created with Damien Hirst.
In his life, Bowie joined the board of Modern Painters, and interviewed Hirst for the magazine the following year. He described Hirst as one of the people who made art accessible in Britain in a way that had not happened before.
There is also evidence that parts of Bowie's collection went on to influence his album artwork, shown through his passion for the Memphis Milano design collective, led by Ettore Sottsass.
Bowie had a huge range of pieces inspired by kaleidoscope of colour around the 'Let's Dance' time, and the album artwork is reflective of this design.
The ‘Big Sur’ Sofa, designed 1986, by Peter Shire will go for between £3,000 and £5,000 according to Sotheby's auctioneers
Ettore Sottsass designed the flamboyant Casablanca Sideboard, above left, intended to work as a room divider and wine rack. Right, is the same artist's ‘Ashoka’ Lamp, named after an ancient Indian emperor, this lamp design references traditional candle sticks, and like his ‘Casablanca’ cabinet, has individually coloured parts extending from a central element
Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni's playful radio-phonograph was designed in 1966 and will be worth between £800 and £1,200. It was designed as a kind of ‘musical pet’ – as well as being completely detachable, the speakers can be hooked on top or on the side like ears and the control dials form a face
According to Sotheby's: 'The full exhibition of over 350 works will be open to the public in London November 1-10. This will include threedays of talks and events (November 4-6) with speakers exploring Bowie’s passion for collecting and his influence on fashion, art and design.'
A spokesperson for the Estate of David Bowie 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 significance, it is now time to give others the opportunity to appreciate - and acquire - the art and objects he so admired.'
The exhibition is open at Sotheby's, New Bond Street, between November 1-10, with the auction at the same location on November 10 and 11.
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