The private art collection owned by David Bowie is going to be revealed to the public for the very first time.
David Bowie kept this part of his life, that of an art collector, almost entirely hidden from the public. But now, his collection of almost 300 pieces which includes works by artists such as Damien Hirst, Henry Moore and Marcel Duchamp will be put on display at Sotheby’s in London.
After this, they will be sold at an auction in November, where the pieces are expected to fetch more than £10 million.
Oliver Barker, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, had this to say: “David Bowie’s collection offers a unique insight into the personal world of one of the 20th Century’s greatest creative spirits.”
Primarily, Bowie seemed to prefer 20th century artists, including Stanley Spencer, Patrick Caulfield and Peter Lanyon. He was also drawn to people such as Leon Kossoff and Frank Auerbach.
The artist and writer Matthew Collings has said that Bowie’s collection very much reflects his personality: “I would characterise it as bohemian, romantic, expressive, emotional art. Art that’s filled with feelings.”
He also described it as “vivid and exciting” and was “art that calls for a gut reaction, that’s visceral, that’s immediate, that you feel excited by straight away”.
Collings also speculated that the reason he kept this collection private is because “he wasn’t pretentious about it”.
“I think he was an absolutely genuinely enthusiastic collector who didn’t collect to be swanky or to big himself up. He really collected because he had a use for that work and it was a personal use. He looked at those things and they changed his state of being.”
As well as Bowie’s collection of 267 paintings, there are also 120 items of 20th century furniture and sculpture to be auctioned. The proceeds will go to his family, but they have stated the reason for the sale is not money, but lack of space to store the massive collection of art.