LONDON — Part I of David Bowie’s personal art collection attracted buyers from around the world on November 10, with collectors from 46 countries registered to bid for the 47 works on offer. Over the course of the 10-day presale exhibition in London, more than 37,000 people came to Sotheby’s to view the collection, making for the best attended presale exhibition London has ever witnessed. Bidders battled for works by the British artists with whom Bowie felt such a close connection, such as Frank Auerbach, Peter Lanyon and Bernard Leach, as 11 new records were set for works of Twentieth Century British art. Paintings by leading contemporary artists were also the subject of prolonged bidding battles in the saleroom, led by Jean-Michel Basquiat’s, Air Power, 1984 which sold for $8.9 million.
A spokesperson for the estate of David Bowie said, “David always enjoyed sharing the works in the collection, loaning to museums and actively supporting the art and artists that were part of his world. While the family have kept certain pieces of particular significance, now was the time for others to share David’s love for these remarkable works and let them live on.”
Of the 12 records set in the “white glove” sale that totaled $30,266,999, 11 were for works by Twentieth Century British artists, led by Frank Auerbach’s “Head of Gerda Boehm,” which sold for $4.7 million. Bowie famously said of the painting: “My God, yeah! I want to sound like that looks.”
Watch for a complete report on the sale later.