David Bowie’s Private Art Collection is Going Up for Auction

David Bowie’s Private Art Collection is Going Up for Auction

The Collection Includes Works By Marcel Duchamp, Henry Moore and Damine Hirst

The Collection Includes Works By Marcel Duchamp, Henry Moore and Damine Hirst

Text: Grace Walker

David Bowie was a vibrant innovator. He challenged the status quo and pioneered unimaginable ventures for music, with his seeds sewing the experimental nature of today’s artists. But whilst we are all familiar with the British icon’s musical legacy, we have—for the most part—been kept in the dark about his second passion, art. Throughout his life, Bowie continuously added to an extensive collection of works, which he kept in private. Now, following his passing, his eclectic array will be put on show for the first time, and then be auctioned at Sotheby’s in London.

The most interesting aspect about the collection is the way the works inspired Bowie in his musical direction. Back in 1998, when speaking of a work by Auerbach, he told the New York Times, "My God, yeah—I want to sound like that looks.” He sculpted his artistic vision around pieces that fascinated him, putting abstract approach and colorful creation at the forefront of his work. Being raised in South London, Bowie was particularly attracted British artists:  his collection is predominantly made up of works of 20th century quintessential names, Stanley Spencer, Patrick Caulfield and Peter Lanyon.

However, along with a multitude of works painting the British landscape, Bowie didn’t exclusively resign himself to all things stereotypically English. The broad ranging collection includes a surrealist piece by Marcel Duchamp - A Bruit Secret - in which a ball of string is placed between two brass plates, with an unknown object hidden in the middle. It is expected to fetch up to £250,000. Also at the higher end is a graffiti-style painting by American artist Jean-Michel, entitled “Air Power,” which stands at the immense value of between £2.5m and £3.5m.

Bowie did not buy art on the superficial foundation of prestige. Rather, the works he adopted were those he directly connected with, and such genuine admiration is detectable in the collection.  In fact, writer and artist Matthew Collings explained the pieces reflect the star’s personality perfectly.  He commented: "I would characterize it as bohemian, romantic, expressive, emotional art. Art that's filled with feelings," adding it was "vivid and exciting" and was "art that calls for a gut reaction, that's visceral, that's immediate, that you feel excited by straight away.”

With a grand total of around 300 pieces, including paintings, sculptures and furniture, the entire collection sits at an estimated value of around £10m and is expected to attract art and music fans alike. As Bowie did in his own material, the collection crosses borders, challenges accepted standards and opens a twinkling realm of never-before-witnessed energy.

The auction will be held in November and all proceeds will go to David Bowie’s family.

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