When a commoner dies his bric a brac goes to Oxfam shop of his neighbourhood, when a rich and famous dies his bric a brac ends up at Sotheby’s! These days David Bowie’s collection of 20th century British contemporary art is auctioned at Sotheby’s and the first part of the auction has already taken part last Wednesday yielding an astronomical amount of 24 millions! David Bowie was a collector as any other rich person who has enough spare money to indulge himself by buying whatever artwork he likes, from Basquiat, Bellany, Bomberg, Lanyon, Hirst and many others. As one of the curators mentioned, there is a limit of how much someone can spend in buying cocaine, the rest must somehow has to be spend in some others pleasure associated with human’s vulnerable spots which are primarily three things : collecting, collecting, collecting. All these art works have an added value of being in the possession of one of the most iconic musician of the 20th century, everyone with a considerable spare of money wants to acquire something that David has chosen or used.Therefore Sotheby’s auction success had already taken for granted. A lot of the artwork was sold at the double price of the original. For example Basquiat’s ‘Air of Power’ was sold at the astronomical price of 7 millions with a starting point of 2-3 million!
Foyer by Patrick Caulfield, 1973. In the front, David Bowie’s personal music player.
Air-Power by Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1960-1988.
There is a lot to say about art market and what is the real value an artwork, a mystery not for only the common people but even for those who are in the business of art world. It is an absurd game between the two main players of the society ‘the market’ and the bourgeoisie!
This was my favourite piece of the collection : Teenagers by Sven Berlin (1911-2000): watercolour and ink wash, £600-800.