David Bowie’s private art collection to be sold

A photograph of Bowie by Gavin Evans. Picture: PA
A photograph of Bowie by Gavin Evans. Picture: PA
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The private art collection of David Bowie will be revealed to the public for the first time when hundreds of his paintings are sold at auction.

Bowie kept his life as an art collector private and the Sotheby’s sale will be a first insight into a previously hidden side of the late musician.

David  Bowie loved Jean-Michel Basquiat's Air Power. Picture: PA

David Bowie loved Jean-Michel Basquiat's Air Power. Picture: PA

Around 400 items will go under the hammer, including works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst and Frank Auerbach.

Basquiat’s 1984 painting Air Power is the most valuable lot with an estimated value of up to £3.5 million. The star bought the painting a year after he played the role of the artist’s mentor, Andy Warhol, in Julian Schnabel’s 1996 film Basquiat. His collection of modern British art will be the main component of one of the sales, featuring more than 200 works by artists including Hirst, Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland.

Bowie, who died in January from liver cancer, also collected outsider art, surrealism, contemporary African art and the work of eccentric Italian designer Ettore Sottsass.

While his collection was private, Bowie was a vocal art lover and in 1994 he joined the editorial board of Modern Painters magazine, for which he interviewed artists including Hirst, Jeff Koons and Tracey Emin.

Simon Hucker, senior specialist in modern and post-war British art at Sotheby’s, said: “Bowie looked for artists with whom he felt some connection, and for works that had the power to move or inspire him. This is what led him to British art of the early and mid-20th century in particular.

A preview of the collection will tour the world before the November sale, with works on display in London, Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong.

A spokesman for Bowie’s estate said: “David’s art collection was fuelled by personal interest and compiled out of passion. Though his family are keeping pieces of particular significance, it is now time to give others the opportunity to appreciate – and acquire – the art and objects he so admired.”