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David Bowie's art collection on show ahead of auction

Published 01/11/2016

A woman looks at a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat during the press preview of The Personal Collection of David Bowie
A woman looks at a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat during the press preview of The Personal Collection of David Bowie

Items of artwork belonging to David Bowie have been unveiled for the first time for a public exhibition ahead of an auction.

The late singer and art collector's vast personal collection was largely kept private, meaning the Sotheby's exhibit and sale will be a first look into a previously elusive side of the musician.

Pieces available for sale include a spin painting Bowie created with Damien Hirst in 1995 called Beautiful, hallo, space-boy painting, which has an estimated value of £250,000 to £350,000.

Jean-Michel Basquiat's 1984 painting Air Power is the most valuable of the entire collection with an estimated price tag of £2.5 million to £3.5 million.

In 1996, Bowie described the painting as having "a burning immediacy to his ever-evaporating decisions that fires the imagination 10 or 15 years on, as freshly molten as the day they were poured on to the canvas".

The rock star - who passed away in January at the age of 69 - bought the painting a year after he played the role of the artist's mentor and collaborator, Andy Warhol, in Julian Schnabel's 1996 film Basquiat.

Other pieces in the collection include works by Frank Auerbach, Norman Catherine and Harold Gilman.

Bowie was vocal about his love of art and in 1994 he joined the invitation-only editorial board of Modern Painters magazine, for which he interviewed artists including Hirst, Jeff Koons and Tracey Emin.

He said of his love of art in 1998 in The New York Times: "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."

The collection is on display at Sotheby's galleries in New Bond Street in London between November 1-10 to give fans, historians and collectors a chance to examine Bowie's pieces.

The three auctions will take place on November 10 and 11.

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