The late, great David Bowie was an avid collector of art — however, little has been known about his collection as it was kept private until just recently. Now the collection will be organized into an exhibition that will tour worldwide at locations including London, Los Angeles, New York, and Hong Kong. Beginning in November, items from the collection will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s and they are expected to fetch up to $13 million. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s ‘Air Power’, which Bowie purchased in 1997, is the most expensive piece in the collection and is valued between $2.5 and $3.5 million.
But Bowie didn’t collect the pieces for their price tag. The fact that he kept his collection under wraps speaks to the personal connection he had to the pieces, a connection that was not influenced by the wealth or popularity of the artists. The artist and writer Matthew Collins, who reviewed the collection for the BBC, speaks of Bowie’s earnestness regarding his collection. “I think he was an absolutely genuinely enthusiastic collector who didn’t collect to be swanky or to big himself up,” Collins said. “He really collected because he had a use for that work and it was a personal use. He looked at those things and they changed his state of being.”
In addition to Basquiat, works by Frank Auerbach, Marcel Duchamp, Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, and Damien Hirst are featured in the collection. Sothesby’s will also be auctioning off a number of furniture pieces owned by Bowie, such as his unusual stereo cabinet which was created by Italian designers Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in the 1960s.