David Bowie spent the majority of his 69 years on this earth as a living, breathing, walking, shimmying piece of perpetual performance art. Yet he still, for some reason, felt the need to collect artworks by other people for his own personal enjoyment. And he apparently amassed a pretty impressive collection over the years, including works from Young British Artist lynchpin Damien Hirst, French Cubist Marcel Duchamp, and American Neo-expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Later this year, that 400-plus-piece curation will be going up for auction through Sotheby’s, Reuters reports.
“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,” deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Europe Oliver Barker said in a statement.
The English singer-songwriter—who studied art, music and design at London’s Bromley Technical High School—started collecting art early in his career, he told The New York Times in 1998. He went on to explain how art effected not only his own creative output by his life:
Art was, seriously, the only thing I’d ever wanted to own. It has always been for me a stable nourishment. I use it. It can change the way that I feel in the mornings. The same work can change me in different ways, depending on what I’m going through. For instance, somebody I like very much indeed is Frank Auerbach. I think there are some mornings that if we hit each other a certain way—myself and a portrait by Auerbach—the work can magnify the kind of depression I’m going through. It will give spiritual weight to my angst. Some mornings I’ll look at it and go: “Oh, God, yeah! I know!” But that same painting, on a different day, can produce in me an incredible feeling of the triumph of trying to express myself as an artist. I can look at it and say: “My God, yeah! I want to sound like that looks.”
When the collection goes on sale in November, it’s expected to net more than $13.24 million for Bowie’s family, who say they’ve decided to sell due to issues of space rather than finances. Luckily, for those of us who don’t have an extra $350,000 to pick up Hirst’s “Beautiful, Shattering, Slashing, Violent, Pinky, Hacking, Sphincter Painting,” the collection will be previewed around the world prior to its auction.