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George Michael’s million-pound art collection has been put up for auction

An embroidered blanket by Tracey Emin, a dove preserved in formaldehyde by Damien Hirst and a colour-changing pop-art portrait by Michael Craig-Martin are just a few pieces of George Michael‘s personal art collection going up for auction in London next month.

British auction house Christie’s has announced that they will be auctioning off George Michael’s private art collection, with trustees of Michael’s estate claiming that all funds raised would go to good causes.

In a final bout of posthumous philanthropy, the estate of George Michael will be auctioning off the late artist’s massive art collection, with proceeds raised going to charities around Britain.

“Philanthropic work was hugely important for George during his lifetime and it was his wish that this work would continue after his passing,” a trustee has said in a statement.

The collection, which has been described as “a portrait of Britain in the 1990s”, features works by prominent artists Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Marc Quinn and Damien Hirst.

Estimates for the works are ranging from an affordable £400 to over £1.5 million for the Hirst piece, a 2.2-metre vitrine featuring a floating dove titled The Incomplete Truth. An edition of the work featured in Tate Modern’s Hirst retrospective in 2012.

Tracey Emin, Drunk to the Bottom of My Soul, 2002. Tracey Emin / Courtesy of Christie’s

Christian Albu, of Christie’s Auction House, said of Michael’s collection:

“He bought works which resonated with him. People like Tracey Emin, they were rebels and he felt a bit of himself in these artists.” 

Songbird, an oil-on-linen painting by Bridget Riley, was a particular favourite of Michael’s. It could be found hanging in his bedroom. Painted in 1982, Songbird is being estimated at selling for between £400,000 and £600,000.

Bridget Riley, Songbird, 1982. Bridget Riley / Courtesy of Christie’s

After Michael’s death from heart and liver disease on Christmas Day back in 2016, it was revealed how much philanthropy and charity work the artist had done, such as giving millions of pounds to Childline (including the future royalties to Jesus to a Child) and working anonymously at a homeless shelter.

In a statement about the auction, Christie’s said that key works in the collection would head off on tour before the main sale starts on the 14th of March, with visits planned for New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Shanghai. There will also be an online sale of lower-value works, beginning on the 8th of March and ending on the 15th.

Via The Guardian.

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February 12, 2019