David Bowie’s Private Art Collection Goes Under the Hammer

David Bowie‘s private art collection is set to be auctioned off to the public at Sotheby’s in London in November. Bowie made quite a mark in the art scenes of London, Berlin and New York but much of his artistic taste and collections have been kept private until now. This auction will be a fascinating peek into the Star Man’s secret life.

The collection boasts around 400 classic pieces from arguably the most important British artists of the 1900s. One of the pieces includes Sleep Sounds by Jack Butler Yeats. The painting was completed in 1955 and is valued at up to $210,000.


Image: Sotheby’s

Bowie bought this oil-on-canvas masterpiece in 1993 for £45,500, equating to about $79,000. 

David’s tastes weren’t exclusively limited to 20th century British artists though, he also took a keen interest in contemporary African art, designs by Ettore Sottsass and even self taught artists.

Another fantastic piece up for auction is Damien Hirst’s Beautiful, shattering, slashing, violent, pinky, hacking, sphincter painting. Birthed in 1995, the piece is a prime example of Hirst’s iconic Spin Collection.


Image: Sotheby’s

In an interview with NY Times Bowie stated, “He’s different. I think his work is extremely emotional, subjective, very tied up with his own personal fears – his fear of death is very strong – and I find his pieces moving and not at all flippant.” With an estimated value of £250,000–350,000, you’d like to hope so.

Hirst and Bowie were so creatively in line, they even collaborated on a piece called Beautiful, Hello, Space Boy Painting. Bowie explained the process in an interview. “We did some paintings together. We took a big round canvas, about 12-foot, and it’s on a machine that spins it around at about 20 miles an hour, and we stand on the top of step-ladders and throw paint at it.. It’s from a child’s game; you drop paint on and centrifugal force pushes the stuff out.”

Financially speaking, the most valuable painting of the collection would have to be Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Air Power from 1984.


Image: Sotheby’s

This piece is worth an estimated £2,500,000–3,500,000, equivalent to between $4.3 and $6 million.

It comes as no shock to find an extremely trendy and unconventional Italian Radiophonograph among the mix. Hipsters will rejoice in knowing that the estimated value of this ancient iPod is only £800–1,200. Of course, being a part of Bowie’s personal collection is guaranteed to make the actual sale price skyrocket.

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Image: Sotheby’s

Romuald Hazoumè is an integral part of the Contemporary African movement. His piece entitled Alexandra was the one that really caught Bowie’s eye. Hazoumè links art history with the history of colonialism in Africa by collecting everyday objects and arranging them in a way that expresses this connection. Alexandra is estimated to be worth between £5,000–7,000.

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Image: Sotheby’s

Before the auction, the collection will be featured at Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries in London at the beginning of November. For more information visit Sotheby’s website.

Image: PopMatters