David Bowie’s musical heroes in charcoal at auction

Two charcoal drawings of David Bowie's life-long friends and collaborators, Brian Eno (left) and Mike Garson (right) are attracting attention from the late singer's fans and art collectors.

 Picture: Neil Hanna
Two charcoal drawings of David Bowie's life-long friends and collaborators, Brian Eno (left) and Mike Garson (right) are attracting attention from the late singer's fans and art collectors. Picture: Neil Hanna
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When music legend David Bowie’s life was in free fall in the mid-1970s he fled Los Angeles in the grip of cocaine addiction and headed to Berlin, where he produced his legendary trio of albums known as the Berlin Trilogy.

Now, an original artwork by Bowie, of musician Brian Eno, who collaborated with him on all three Berlin projects – Low, Heroes and Lodger – is due to go under the hammer at the same Scottish auction house which last year set a world record for one of the superstar’s paintings.

The charcoal drawing of Eno, and another original of New York born keyboardist Mike Garson, “Bowie’s piano man” and longest-serving band member and who played the memorable piano solo on the song Aladdin Sane, are attracting attention from fans and art collectors worldwide ahead of the Contemporary and Post-War Art sale on 15 March.

Last year a Bowie self-portrait, DHEAD, with an estimate of £3,000-£5,000, was sold to an anonymous bidder for £22,500, after the sale at Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh.

Charlotte Riordan, head of contemporary art at Lyon & Turnbull, said there is a “huge appetite” for original Bowie work.

The Bowie sale also includes three signed and dated limited edition photo lithograph prints, and a bound deluxe limited edition of the volume Moonage Daydream: The Life And Times Of Ziggy Stardust by photographer Mick Rock charting Bowie’s early career, which is signed by Bowie.

The two charcoal portraits both have estimates of £2,000-£3,000.

The Head Of Brian Eno is inscribed “E.B. March ’94, D.B.” The Mike Garson charcoal drawing, completed the same year, is inscribed “M.G. March ’94, D.B.”

Riordan said the six Bowie lots in the forthcoming sale, which had belonged to a UK-based private collector, are expected to exceed their top estimates after an overwhelming show of interest.

“David Bowie is about as big as it gets. He was an adored figure and his work never really appeared at auction before his death. There is magic, a huge appetite out there from fans and collectors for his work purely because he created it, or owned it,” said Riordan.

“He was a prolific artist, almost compulsive about creating – drawings, paintings and music – but his career as an artist he kept low-key.

“Charcoal is tricky to work with and Bowie’s drawings in the sale are very well executed. I like to think of Bowie and Eno working together and perhaps Bowie sketching as they worked.”

Eno has recalled how Heroes was made while Bowie battled with drug addiction and “living at the edge of his nervous system”.

“We slipped into Peter Cook and Dudley Moore characters. Bowie was Pete and I was Dud, and for the whole time we stayed in character. ‘Ooh, I dunno about that synthesiser part, Dud…’”

Bowie died last January in New York, aged 69 after a private 18-month battle with liver cancer. Shortly after his death. Eno released a statement which revealed the pair had planned to work together again.

“About a year ago we started talking about Outside – the last album we worked on together. We both liked that album a lot and felt that it had fallen through the cracks. We talked about revisiting it, taking it somewhere new. I was looking forward to that.”

In 1999, talking about his love of art, Bowie said: “The only thing I buy obsessively and addictively is art.”

Garson who played on 19 Bowie albums up to 2010’s A Reality Tour (recorded in 2003) was a mainstay of Bowie’s music career.

Bowie once said about Garson “very few musicians understand the movement and free thinking necessary to hurl themselves into experimental or traditional areas of music, sometimes, ironically, at the same time. Mike does this with such enthusiasm that it makes my heart glad just to be in the same room with him.”

Last year a sale of Bowie’s private art collection at Sotheby’s, London, made just under £33 million. The sale of over 400 items included works by Scottish artists such as John Bellany, the East Lothian artist who was a friend of Bowie’s, Eduardo Paolozzi and Ken Currie.