We did not, however, know that the musician and cultural icon was also an avid collector of Modern art. Bowie’s personal hoard of artworks was not part of his public persona.
Yet it’s no surprise that the man who infused pop music with the multi-faceted magic and rich significance of Fine Art filled his private world with an array of remarkable artwork.
“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,” Bowie told the New York Times in 1998.
Now, in a landmark exhibition at Sotheby’s, London gets to see this extensive private collection — before anyone else. Bowie applied his trademark eclectic aesthetic to his artistic acquisitions and the collection of around 400 works span Duchamp to era-defying pieces of 20th century design.
How Bowie listened to music: Brionvega Radiophonograph by Pier Giacomo and Achille Castiglioni, model no RR 126, 1965, £800-1,200
The paintings, sculptures and furniture will go on display at Sotheby’s London in a preview world tour from 20 July – 9 August, before heading to LA, Hong Kong and New York.
Then the collection returns to London for a full exhibition, Bowie/Collector, at Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries from 1-10 November before the paintings are auctioned in a three-part sale.
Here are the essential dates for your diary:
Late Night 24 hr View: 4 November 2016
This exciting all night viewing includes a guided tour, DJ and a midnight screening of Basquiat. In the wee hours, there'll be tea and coffee, breakfast bar and reiki, yoga and meditation with Native Highs. Click here to book.
Bowie Festival Sotheby's is hosting a series of talks relating to Bowie's influences and inspirations in design and fashion.
Kate Chertavian, advisor and curator to Bowie from 1993 to 2000 will talk from 11am-noon about her memories of working alongside the passionate art collector.
Leading producer Robert Fox will talk from 1-2pm on the topic of the London release of Lazarus, in conversation with Enda Walsh, who co-wrote the musical with Bowie.
Novelist William Boyd will speak between 3-4pm, discussing David Bowie's role on the Editorial Board of Modern Painters and the 'Nat Tate' art world hoax orchestrated by the pair in 1998.
Artist, writer and broadcaster Matthew Collings will discuss the themes of the collection between 1-2pm with curator Beth Greenacre.
Between 3-4pm, Sotheby's Adam Trunoske will discuss the Memphis Design collection with Johanna German Ross of the V&A and Martine Bedin, Memphis Group co-founder. Click here to book.
Children's Day: 6th November, 11am -1pm
Sotheby's will host a day of games and activities to illuminate the minds of your little ones to the breadth of work of David Bowie. There'll be a balloonist, activity packs and a felt area where kids will be able to make their own miniature Memphis designs.
The Auctions: 10 & 11 November 2016
A little more...
The core of the collection is a 200 piece curation of 20th century British artists: Frank Auerbach, Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland give this personal collection the pivotal importance and diversity of any art exhibition. Of course the imagination that brought us Ziggy Stardust and Labyrinth’s Goblin King dipped into African art, Surrealism, Outsider Art and sleek design.
From Bowie's collection: Damien Hirst, Beautiful, Shattering, Slashing, Violent, Pinky, Hacking, Sphincter Painting, 1995 Household gloss on canvas £250,000-350,000
A spokesperson for the Estate of David Bowie describes the “art collection was fuelled by personal interest and compiled out of passion… it is now time to give others the opportunity to appreciate – and acquire – the art and objects he so admired.”
As we know, taste is deeply revealing. This exhibition of the artworks that inspired and delighted David Bowie will offer a rare insight into the man himself, along with a fascinatingly eclectic overview of Modern and contemporary art.
The Sotheby's exhibition is free and open to all. Click here to pre-order the exhibition catalogues.
|What||Bowie / Collector exhibition, Sotheby's|
|Where||Sotheby's, 34-35 New Bond Street, London, W1A 2AA | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Oxford Circus (underground)|
01 Nov 16 – 10 Nov 16, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information from Sotheby's|