Entertainment & Arts

David Bowie art auction: First day smashes estimate with £24m total

Bowie auction at Sotheby's with Jean-Michel Basquiat's Air Power Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jean-Michel Basquiat's Air Power led the sale with a £7.1m price tag

The first day of the auction of art owned by David Bowie has taken £24.3m ($30.7m) - more than double the pre-sale estimate.

The 47 artworks sold at Sotheby's in London on Thursday had been valued at between £8.1m ($10.2m) and £11.7m ($14.8m).

The most expensive lot was Jean-Michel Basquiat's Air Power, which went for £7.1m ($9m).

Meanwhile, Frank Auerbach's Head of Gerda Boehm fetched £3.8m ($4.8m).

A further 309 works owned by the late singer are going up for sale on Friday.

But the most valuable pieces went under the hammer on Thursday.

Bowie's family have kept artworks that are "of particular significance" but are selling the rest of his collection. The proceeds, after any fees and taxes are deducted, are going back to his estate.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Bowie said of Frank Auerbach's Head of Gerda Boehm: 'I want to sound like that looks'
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Sotheby's said collectors from 46 countries registered to bid

The appeal of the Jean-Michel Basquiat pieces may have been enhanced by the fact that Bowie played Andy Warhol in the 1996 film of Basquiat's life.

Basquiat's Air Power had an upper valuation of £3.5m but ended up selling for more than double that amount. And an untitled Basquiat painting dating from 1984 fetched £2.4m - more than three times its pre-sale estimate.

The final £3.8m price for Frank Auerbach's thick, layered 1965 portrait of his cousin Gerda Boehm beat the previous £2.3m record for an Auerbach.

Bowie once said of the painting: "I want to sound like that looks."

Other highlights from the Bowie auction:

  • £797,000: Peter Lanyon - Witness
  • £785,000: Damien Hirst with David Bowie - Beautiful, hallo, space-boy painting
  • £755,000: Damien Hirst - Beautiful, shattering, slashing, violent, pinky, hacking, sphincter painting
  • £665,000: Patrick Caulfield - Foyer
  • £581,000: Henry Moore - Family group
  • £557,000: Marcel Duchamp - With hidden noise (a bruit secret)

All prices include buyer's premium.

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