Over 200 works from the private art collection of George Michael are to be auctioned by Christie’s in London this March. The proceeds will help to continue the singer-songwriter’s philanthropic work.
The late George Michael, who died suddenly on Christmas Day in 2016, was a keen visitor to galleries and artist’s studios, where he developed friendships with many of the Young British Art Movement (YBA) artists whose work he admired deeply. His impressive collection represents a relationship with his own contemporaries—artists such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Michael Craig-Martin, and Marc Quinn.
On 14 March, iconic pieces will be offered across a flagship live auction at Christie’s in London and in a special online sale (8-15 March). Proceeds from the sale of the collection will be used to continue Michael’s ‘secret’ philanthropic work—the extent of which was revealed by the press after his death at the age of 53. It is not yet known which organizations will benefit from the sale.
‘The online sale will allow fans and collectors alike to participate globally,’ said Paola Saracino Fendi, Specialist, Post-War & Contemporary of Christie’s.
The collection reflects one of the most influential recording artist’s dedication to innovative creativity, as well as his willingness to support young and emerging artistic talent. Michael’s 35-year career began with Wham! in the early 1980s and saw him win countless major awards and sell more than 100 million albums worldwide.
Notable works in the upcoming sale include Damien Hirst’s The Incomplete Truth (2006)—from the ‘Natural History’ series of formaldehyde-suspended animals and organs—and Tracey Emin’s Drunk to the Bottom of My Soul (2002)—a large-scale example of the artist’s poetic appliquéd blankets.
Bridget Riley’s Songbird from 1982 will also go under the hammer, a favourite work of Michael’s that hung above the fireplace in one of his homes.
Pieces are estimated to be worth between £400 and £1,500,000.
Ahead of the sale, a global tour will pay tribute to the spirit of the creative icon and unveil additional key works in the collection. Opening in New York and including exhibitions in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and China, the tour will conclude in London where the collection will appear in a special public view at Christie’s headquarters from 9th to 14th March.
Jussi Pylkkänen, global president of Christie’s, said about the sale: ‘George Michael was a much-admired creative genius of the music industry and the viewing of over 200 works of art from the private collection will provide a fascinating insight into the broader tastes of a man who was deeply admired all over the world.’
Michael’s trustees have also approved the auction, saying: ‘The Art Collection of George Michael reflects the friendships built between one of the UK’s most acclaimed musical artists and the visual artists who were creating artworks at a seminal moment in British cultural history.
‘Philanthropic work was hugely important for George during his lifetime and it was his wish that this work would continue after his passing.’