While David Bowie occasionally lent pieces from his private art collection to galleries for exhibitions, the whole thing has never been made available to the public in full. Until now, that is. Featuring works from the likes of Basquiat, Hirst and Auerbach, a major exhibition is coming to London this November.
David Bowie was more than just a musician. He was an actor and also dabbled in painting – an all round artist. His love of art extended to collecting others’ works too and his private collection is set to be unveiled for the first time at a 10 day exhibition and auction at Sotheby’s in London.
St. Ives painter Peter Lanyon had the honour of being featured in Bowie’s private collection multiple times and the musician lent three of his works to the Tate gallery in his hometown in 2010. Witness was one of them, a recreation of Lanyon’s first experience in a glider.
Bowie loved contemporary African art, so much so he once wrote a five page review of the Johannesburg Biennale for Modern Painters magazine. He also owned this sculpture by Romuald Hazoumé, a piece that uses everyday things like a vacuum nozzle and vinyl record to make something extraordinary.
Interior (Mrs Mounter) is simple and stark in comparison to much of Bowie’s collection. There are no bright colours, nothing remotely in-your-face about it. Instead, it depicts a typical room in a 1917 British abode, something that might have connected with Bowie’s working class upbringing in Brixton.
This sideboard was designed by Ettore Sottsass in 1981 and is typical of the Milan-based Memphis group’s love of bold aesthetics, striking colours and unpredictable shapes.
Damien Hirst might be an artist who riles a lot of people up, but Bowie loved him. “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,” he once told The New York Times.
Bowie played Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s mentor and collaborator, in the 1996 film Basquiat. One year later, he bought this piece by the American artist. Bowie even found parallels between his paintings and the rock world, saying: “It comes as no surprise to learn that he had
a not-so-hidden ambition to be a rock musician, as his work relates to rock in ways that very few other visual artists get near.”
“My God, yeah! I want to sound like that looks”, Bowie once said of Frank Auerbach’s work. This piece is Head Of Gerda Boehm, which Bowie lent to the Royal Academy in 2001 for their retrospective on the British artist’s textured, unique work.