“Art was, seriously, the only thing I’d ever wanted to own. It has always been for me a stable nourishment. I use it. It can change the way I feel in the mornings. The same work can change me in different ways, depending on what I’m going through.” – David Bowie to the New York Times, 1998.
This morning, Sotheby’s has announced that the auction house will stage Bowie/Collector, a three-part sale encompassing some 400 artworks and furniture from the private collection of icon David Bowie at the auction house’s New Bond Street space in London from 1 to 10 November with a preview going on view from 20 July and 9 August in London.
At the heart of which is a remarkable group of more than 200 works by many of the most important artists of the 20th Century, including Harold Gilman, Peter Lanyon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Frank Auerbach, Damien Hirst, Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland.
Bowie’s artistic curiosity led him to collect German Expressionism, Outsider Art, Surrealism and Contemporary African art, as well as pieces by eccentric Italian designer Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis group.
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 personal significance, it is now time to give others the opportunity to appreciate – and acquire – the art and objects he so admired.”
In a 1996 issue of Modern Painters magazine, Bowie wrote of Jean-Michel Basquiat: “I feel the very moment of his brush or crayon touching the canvas. There is a burning immediacy to his ever evaporating decisions that fires the imagination ten or fifteen years on, as freshly molten as the day they were poured onto the canvas.” David Bowie played the role of Andy Warhol, mentor and collaborator of Jean-Michel Basquiat in Julian Schnabel’s 1996 film Basquiat. Air Power was acquired by Bowie the following year. “It comes as no surprise to learn that he [Basquiat] had a not-so-hidden ambition to be a rock musician,” wrote Bowie, “his work relates to rock in ways that very few other visual artists get near.”