Still mourning the loss of the Thin White Duke? Maybe a piece of art from the musical icon’s private collection will help ease the sting. Famous for his shape-shifting personas as Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, and yes, the Thin White Duke, the late David Bowie was perhaps less known as an avid art collector—and, true to his nature, the more idiosyncratic the work, the better.
A highlight of the auction, which will take place November 10–11 in London, is Bowie’s extensive collection of works by the Milan-based Memphis Group. An avant-garde design collaborative formed in the 1980s and led by Ettore Sottsass, Michele De Lucchi, and Andrea Branzi, among others, the group spearheaded the now widely recognized postmodern design movement. Relying heavily on geometric motifs, mixed materials, and bright, saturated colors, one critic described the style as “a shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fisher-Price.”
More than 100 items will go on the auction block, including Sottsass and Perry King’s fire engine red Valentine portable typewriter, Martine Bedin’s iconic Super Lamp, and Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni’s Radio-Phonograph, Model No. RR126, with opening bids ranging from $100 to $7,000. The unique works present an incredible window into Bowie’s approach to art and the creative process, and are sure to entice both his fans and avid art collectors alike.
The Memphis collection will be part of a three-part sale encompassing over 350 works from Bowie’s private collection, which also includes more than 200 works by some of the most notable British artists of the twentieth century, such as Damien Hirst, Frank Auerbach, and Graham Sutherland. The works will all be part of a special exhibition, to precede the auction, from November 1–10 at Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries in London.
For more information, visit Sotheby’s website.