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David Bowie’s art collection smashes estimate

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Air Power was the lead lot in the stunning sale of David Bowie’s art collection on Thursday.
The piece (above) achieved £7.1m ($8.8m) at Sotheby’s in London, doubling its high-end estimate.

Bowie bought the work shortly after starring as Basquiat’s mentor Andy Warhol in the 1996 biopic of the graffiti artist’s life.

The most valuable Auerbach ever auctioned

It was one of 47 pieces from the late rocker’s art collection to sell. The auction achieved £24.3m ($30.1m), more than double its £11.7m pre-sale estimate – evidence of the power of the Bowie connection.

Frank Auerbach’s Head of Gerda Boehm set an artist record of £3.8m ($4.7m) – seven times more than expected.

A 1995 Damien Hirst and David Bowie collaboration, Beautiful, Hallo, Space-Boy Painting, achieved £785,000 ($973,400) – double the estimate.

Bowie was an avid art collector.

"Art was, seriously, the only thing I’d ever wanted to own," Bowie explained in a New York Times article in 1998.

"It has always been for me a stable nourishment. I use it. It can change the way I feel in the mornings. The same work can change me in different ways, depending on what I’m going through."

Damien Hirst and Bowie produced this spin painting together

The musician was also secretive over his collection. Although he loaned a select number of works to exhibitions, no one knew the extent of the pieces until now.

Two more auctions of Bowie’s art collection take place today at Sotheby’s – offering a further 300 works.Visit Sotheby’s here.

Across a variety of genres, from surrealism to contemporary African – the pieces are as multi-faceted as the man himself.

Oliver Barker, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, commented: "Eclectic, unscripted, understated: David Bowie’s collection offers a unique insight into the personal world of one of the 20th century’s greatest creative spirits."

Bowie died in January this year from cancer, aged 69.

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