David Bowie’s indelible legacy on the world is constantly felt, if not always reminded. The late icon once famously said, “art was seriously the only thing I’d ever wanted to own. It has always been for me a stable nourishment”. It is a quote that applies as much to him as his craft, and the way his artistic magnificence has nourished, even completely transformed the music landscape since “Hunky Dory” crept its way onto the airwaves.
His penchant for art has transcended his passing, becoming something of a legend in its own right. Given form amongst his private art collection totalling nearly 400 pieces, this arm of Bowie’s legacy will be put up for display and auction at Sotheby’s London this November. The collection, titled “Bowie/Collector” is also available for viewing online for the first time.
Bowie’s chameleonic nature didn’t just extend to his stage personalities. It is thoroughly reflected within his eclectic art collection, with pieces spanning German Expressionism, post-war British avant garde, surrealist pieces from South Africa, to his own work created with Damien Hirst. There will also be about 120 pieces of 20th century furniture for sale, including items designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni.
Of all the pieces, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Air Power” is valued the highest at $5.9 million. Another Basquiat piece, “Untitled”, is estimated to fetch above $850,000.
Browsing through the catalogue gives us a glimpse one of Bowie’s dimensions rarely known to the public. Though he was wildly vocal about his sexuality, drug use, and intellectual pursuits, the man rarely spoke of the passion that was integral to his creative identity. A quick browse through the catalogue will spark instant “ah-ha!” moments for any discerning Bowie fans, given that his album covers are clearly inspired by these precious works.
“Bowie/Collector” will be held from 1-10 November at Sotheby’s London, with auctions on 10-11 November. See the digitised collection here.