“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.” Bowie quoted in The New York Times, 1998
Bowie/Collector will be a three-part sale comprising around 400 items from the private collection of musician, actor, icon David Bowie taking place at Sotheby’s, New Bond Street, London in November. Bowie was an avid collector of Modern and Contemporary British art and at the heart of the sale will be a group of over 200 works by many of the most important British artists of the 20th-century, including Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, Frank Auerbach and Damien Hirst plus international artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat. He also collected Outsider Art, Surrealism, Contemporary African art and the work of eccentric Italian designer Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis group.
From 1–10 November this year, the collection will be exhibited at Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries in London, giving fans, art historians and collectors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse themselves in the art and objects that informed his private world.
The collection was assembled with great thoughtfulness on the basis not of reputation but of Bowie’s highly personal, intellectual response to the individual vision and individual works of particular artists. 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 significance, it is now time to give others the opportunity to appreciate – and acquire – the art and objects he so admired.”
The exhibition and sale includes Bowie’s record player of choice: a wonderfully unconventional piece of 1960s Italian design. The landmark November exhibition will be preceded by a series of previews around the world, starting with a three-week exhibition of selected works in London this summer, running from 20 July until 9 August. Further exhibitions will follow in Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong.
Preview World Tour
London: 20 July–9 August
Los Angeles: 20–21 September
New York: 26–29 September
Hong Kong: 12–15 October
The Exhibition: Bowie/Collector
Sotheby’s London 1–10 November
All exhibitions are free and open to all.
Part I: Modern and Contemporary Art, Evening Auction, 10 November
Part II: Modern and Contemporary Art, Day Auction, 11 November
Part III: Post-Modernist Design: Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis Group, 11 November