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Sotheby’s – David Bowie’s Pretty Things

Unless you’re very lucky you wouldn’t have seen it before. And you’ll certainly never see it like this again. David Bowie’s unique art collection went on display at Sotheby’s. Over 350 pieces from his private collection went under the hammer in November in three different rounds. The sale exceeded all expectations and fetched a massive £33 million at auction.

David Bowie art

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

Peering into the psyche of the iconic and hugely influential musician through his passion for art was an opportunity Mr S and I were not going to miss. So on a cold November Sunday afternoon straight after swimming lessons, we bundled the girls into their winter clobber and zipped over to Mayfair. Entering a very busy Sotheby’s my little Heroes were surprised at the number of people ogling the exhibits.

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

Wandering around the different rooms, we began to play the game – ‘place your millions’. Here’s a peek at what we would have spent our fake millions on.

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

One of the stand out pieces for the girls was Norman Catherine’s – Fanagalo Store. Wooden characters, oil painted in vibrant colours, some quite macabre in nature. What’s not to like for little folk, apart from the £1,000 – £15,000 auction price tag? Talk about a real test of control not to grab one and start playing.

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

Bowie’s modernist furniture collection really caught my eye. I’ve always thought if I had never entered the telly game I would have become an interior designer.

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

This Ettore Sottsass ‘Carlton’ room divider would look great in my home, if only it would fit! Mr S was definitely not convinced, especially at the £6,000 – £8,000 mark.

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

Radha started planning on how cool the Peter Shire ‘Bel Air’ armchair and Nathalie du Pastier ‘Rivera’ carpet would look in her bedroom. Or more like pondering if anyone would notice if she parked her backside down.

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

Mr S was taken by the eerie image of Irish writer James Joyce author who wrote the classic ‘Ulysses’. A book he’s been telling me to read since we found Modern Love, but I’ve still not got round to it!

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

Asha meanwhile merged with the art with her beady eyes and matching top. Anything sweetie orientated will have her first in the queue. Aptly titled ‘Liquorice Allsorts’ by Patrick Hughes.

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

The spin painting created by Damien Hurst and David Bowie, called ‘Beautiful hallo, space boy painting’ took over an entire wall. In 1995 Hurst told Bowie to come to his studio in old clothes. Instead he turned up in his expensive suit and said “he didn’t have any old clothes but didn’t mind getting paint on the new shit he was wearing”. Apparently he chucked in his watch too to aid the creation. Rock ‘n’ Roll indeed. Valued at the sale at £250,000 – £350,000.

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

In the midst of playing ‘place your millions’ my Absolute Beginners decided to create some of their own still life – I love it. It’s a framer.

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

Now I have a thing about bronze sculptures. I’m yet to own a decent one. Still saving my pennies. These Frederick Edward McWillam pieces, ‘Kneeling Girl’ and ‘Girl on Edge of Bed’ with their strong angular poses were beautiful. I did mention to Mr S my birthday would be just Hunky Dory should one of these appear in my living room, which totally fell on deaf ears. Auction price being £6,000 – £8,000.

Sotheby's - David Bowie Collection

It was certainly an interesting and very different kind of trip with the girls. Explaining the genius of the man these objects once belonged to, onto why he was no longer with us, to pretending to spend our fake millions. It was a wonderful hour meandering around the exhibition. And a fantastic opportunity for Bowie fans to be able to see it as a collective before the pieces find new homes and stories.

“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 I feel in the mornings. The same work can change me in different ways, depending on what I’m going through” – David Bowie 1998

Do you have a favourite Bowie tune? Let me know in the comments box below.


Sotheby’s | 34-35 New Bond Street | London | W1A 2AA 



Sotheby's - David Bowie


  • Kitty Morris 20th November 2016 at 7:38 pm

    I’m with your girls, those wooden figures are wonderful! I love the leopard shelves too, gives me major house inspiration

  • Jazmin Williams 20th November 2016 at 9:21 pm

    This is fab! Looks like you had a lovely time. I love the wooden figures 🙂

  • Rebecca Smith 20th November 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Oh wow, this must have been so amazing to visit! What a collection!

  • Bintu - Recipes From A Pantry 20th November 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Such an iconic musician, he will be sadly missed. Some great items here for a super fan or collector.

  • Anosa 20th November 2016 at 10:51 pm

    It is bad that I never actually listened to any of his songs? Maybe I know one of two tunes but couldnt name them for the life of me. The collections seems unique and a £33 million is quite amazing

  • Cecilia Keinapel 21st November 2016 at 12:08 am

    woow this looks and seems very interesting! I have never a massive fan of Bowie but I think he was talented 🙂 He has some incredible art collections and it’s great that it can continue live in someone else’s house or apartment 🙂 I like auction they are always interesting and exciting! x

  • Sarah (Mum x3x) 21st November 2016 at 10:03 am

    Oh wow!! This looks amazing and SO interesting. He had some incredible collections there, very unique and £33 million is incredible! xx

  • Ana De- Jesus 21st November 2016 at 2:14 pm

    I really like Norman Catherine’s Wooden Figures, they seem like they are imbedded in both surreal and Cubist art which I love. What a fascinating insight into his mind.

  • Fashion Du Jour LDN 21st November 2016 at 2:32 pm

    What a great and unique way of spending your afternoon with the girls – would love to play “Place Your Millions”…so many cool, unique pieces it’d be hard to pick! Love that pic of your girls with the Bowie portrait

    Thanks for sharing!

    Leigh at Fashion Du Jour LDN x

    • Sima Sthanakiya 22nd November 2016 at 11:25 pm

      Thank you. Yes, it’s a framer I think!

  • Ickle Pickle 21st November 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Oh wow – what once in a lifetime event. It all looks so awesome – like the man himself. Kaz x

    • Sima Sthanakiya 22nd November 2016 at 11:24 pm

      It was fascinating exhibition to walk around.

  • Sarah 21st November 2016 at 9:39 pm

    What a fantastic exhibition to visit! It looks fantastic! x

  • Eppie 22nd November 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Oooo do you know when it ends? My other half would loooooove this!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 22nd November 2016 at 11:29 pm

      It was only on for a limited time at the beginning of November Eppie. All the pieces have been auctioned off now x

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