The late, great musician, actor and icon David Bowie was, for nearly 50 years, one of the biggest globally recognized artists in the world. His art collection, however, was a different story: while the British-born star was comfortable sharing himself with his fans, his art collection remained almost entirely hidden from public view…until now, that is.
This November, Sotheby’s will stage “Bowie/Collector” – a three-part sale comprising around 400 items from the private collection of David Bowie. At its heart will be Bowie’s collection of Modern and Contemporary British art – a richly stimulating 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. Bowie’s famously inquisitive mind also led him to Outsider Art, Surrealism, Contemporary African art and, not least, to the work of the eccentric Italian designer Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis group. This is a collection put together 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.
From 1–10 November this year, Bowie’s private 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. These include 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 on September 20 and 21 before moving on to New York and Hong Kong.
A spokesperson for the Estate of David Bowie said, “David’s art collection was fueled 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.”