David Bowie's Scottish art collection revealed

The extensive Scottish art collection of pop and rock icon David Bowie has been revealed for the first time.

John Bellany, Alan Davie, Eduardo Paolozzi, Peter Howson and Ken Currie are among the artists represented in his vast archive which is coming up for auction. 

Full details of more than 350 works acquired by Bowie were published online yesterday ahead of a highly-anticipated sale at Sotheby’s in London next month.

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More than 350 works of art are expected to generate more than £10 million in sales during a two-day auction of Bowie’s secret collection, which will be on display in London in the run-up to the sale.

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More than 25 different works from artists north of the border will be up for grabs, including Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, William Scott, Wiliam Turnbull and Duncan Grant.

Bowie was a close friend of the East Lothian-born artist Bellany, one of Scotland’s most revered contemporary artists, who passed away three years ago. Among the Bellany works coming under the hammer at the forthcoming sale is Fishermen in the Snow, which depicts a wintry scene in his native Port Seton, the fishing village which inspired so much of his work.

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A spokesman for Sotheby’s said: “Represented in David Bowie’s collection are a number of works by three of Scotland’s most important 20th century works. John Bellany, Peter Howson and Ken Currie helped to forge a revival in British figurative painting railing against the over-riding influences of conceptualism, minimalism and Pop Art.

“Bellany was one of Bowie’s favourite artists and the two shared a close friendship. Bellany recalled how Bowie told him he hung his monumental early work Fishermen in the Snow next to his painting by Tintoretto: ‘He told me he thought my work stood up very well in such company.’

“Bellany, Howson and Currie are painters with an unwavering dedication to a figurative language. This has often positioned them outside of the art establishment but in recent years the significance of this body of Scottish figurative art has started to receive fully the credit and recognition it deserves.”

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Bryn Sayles, specialist in modern Britain paintings at Sotheby’s, said: “David Bowie’s fascination with British figurative painting is a theme we see running throughout his collection and is especially well represented in the works by Peter Howson, Ken Currie and John Bellany, a close personal friend. Their unflinching vision and powerful use of paint defied the artistic establishment of their time but their dedication to the figurative tradition is now being fully recognised.”