I went to see the exhibition of a selection of David Bowie’s art collection at Sotheby’s. The exhibition runs until Thursday 4 August. The select items then tour Sotheby’s locations including New York and LA before returning to London in November when the whole collection will be exhibited prior to auction.
I read that the auction estimate is £10 million but auction estimates are always very conservative and I think that prices will rocket – these are fine examples of artwork and also formerly owned by a music legend dubbed ‘The White Duke’ – David Bowie is an icon of our time and there will be those who want to buy and own something of that.
The ‘Highlights’ exhibition comprised 2 rooms and about 30 artworks– the show rooms were quite busy. I noticed a good cross-section of people: a wide cross section of ages. There was a group of very arty guys (I think they could have been musicians or artists). Lots and lots of people, most likely there is see a glimpse of David Bowie’s art collection and an insight into who he was.
In the reception there was a large image of Bowie with a quote: ’25 Albums that Could ‘Change Your Reputation’. I thought this was a nice feature: David Bowie – the musician was acknowledged; and this was the basis of his fame.
I have selected a number of works from this preview; there was an interesting and eclectic mix of artwork. The collection also demonstrates a discerning eye for quality artworks:
Frank Auerbach - Head of Gerda Boehm, 1965
Estimate: £300,00 - £500,00
This artwork demonstrates a very painterly study of a head. The figure tilts their head and turns subtly to the side. There is a dramatic contrast in colour with use of white and black amongst the palette of colours used. This is a study but the use of colour, abundance of paint and expressive brushstrokes imbue this composition with a drama and intensity.
Henry Lamb- Study for Portrait of Lytton Strachey, 1913
Estimate: £25,000 - £35,000
This is an interesting contrast to the Auerbach Study. This is a pencil drawing most likely a preparatory study before a painted portrait. It is a sensitive and thoughtful observation of the sitter in pencil. The use of pencil and style of the artist demonstrate great skill in observation.
Peter Lanyon - Trevalgan, 1951
Estimate: £200,000 - £300,000
Lanyon has been described as one of the pre-eminent artists to emerge from Post-War Britain. A modernist and abstract painter. He is known for artworks depicting Cornish landscapes – this example at the show is a brilliant and bold composition is bright and vibrant emerald green.
Kenneth Armitage - Model of Diarchy (small version)
Estimate: £30,000 - £50,000
A three dimensional artwork – ‘Diarchy’ is conveyed with 2 structures that may resemble heads joined to a large body.
Patrick Caulfield, R.A.Foyer, 1973
Estimate: £400,00 - £600,00
Bold and simple lines that are the essence of Patrick Caulfield’s style.
Damien Hirst - Beautiful, Shattering, Slashing, Violent, Pinky, Hacking, Sphincter Painting,1995
Estimate: £250,00 - £350,000
Hirst is a controversial artist and it was interesting to see a piece of his artwork here. Yet again, David Bowie was always ‘on trend’ so on second thoughts it is not that surprising.
David Bomberg - Sunrise in the Mountains, Picos de Asturias, 1935
Estimate: £200,00 - £300,00
I think this is a really beautiful artwork, when the viewer looks into the composition; there is a sense of space and of being amongst the mountains. The bold colours and application transform the canvas into an image of nature.
Johann Fischer - Meine richtige Mutter, in jungen Jahren / Der Vater meines Vorgangers! 1985
Estimate: £2,000 - £3,000
This artwork comprised 2 pencil drawings, in colour. The style is simplistic but again the quality of line is obvious.
Conclusion: this exhibition is intended to provide a taster prior to the show in November. I have got to admit that it certainly did get me interested – I will definitely be visiting the exhibition later in the year. To find out more information on seeing the November show, click here.