Mario Testino, is to put his art collection under the hammer at Sotheby’s. As one of the most celebrated photographers of our time, this project will look beyond Testino’s enigmatic images that have shaped contemporary culture and reveal the artist as collector, patron and collaborator. Over a series of live and online auctions, a curated group of paintings, photographs, works on paper and sculpture, from some of the most important artists of the last two decades will be offered in support of MUSEO MARIO TESTINO, MATE.
“It’s sad to part,” he says. “I’ve never sold anything. I’ve been too attached to my collection.”
In 2013 Mario Testino established the not-for-profit Museo MATE in Lima to promote and support local and global culture in Peru. All proceeds from the auction will go toward the expansion of the centre’s programme of exhibitions, residencies and education initiatives, ensuring its success in the future.
While Mario Testino is known the world over for his mastery of photography, his story as an art collector and philanthropist is yet to be told. This September, Testino will take over Sotheby’s London galleries, with an immersive exhibition and sales of over 400 works, which form part of his personal collection. All proceeds from the auction will go toward the expansion of Testino’s not-for-profit Museo MATE in Lima to promote and support culture in Peru. Watch our video for a first look at the collection, which brings together many of the artists Testino most admires, and whose visual language has helped to inform his world and vision.
The collection includes works by Sterling Ruby (SP114 is the most valuable work in the sale), Wolfgang Tillmans, Gilbert & George and Richard Prince. The collection is particularly rich in Latin American art, including works by the Argentine artists Pablo Bronstein and Amalia Pica, the Colombian Oscar Murillo and, not surprisingly, Peruvian artists such as William Cordova. Testino says art has inspired his own work. “We must always remember that to produce, you need to eat somewhere and this has been where I’ve been feeding myself. “I’m too obsessed with myself, my life, my worries, my needs. But fine artists have really helped me free my mind. They have opened the way I think, they’ve opened the way I look.”
In all, Testino has accumulated more than 1000 works. The decision to sell half of them has been “hard”. “It’s sad to part,” he says. “I’ve never sold anything. I’ve been too attached to my collection.”
But he says: “I have a mission.”
Shake It Up – Works from the Mario Testino Collection exhibition will open on 8 September at Sotheby’s New Bond Street ahead of two auctions on 13 and 14 September.