Late singer Michael’s art col­lec­tion is go­ing up for auc­tion

Christie’s an­nounces it will sell pos­ses­sions of Ge­orge Michael

The Progress-Index - - AMUSEMENTS -

LONDON — Ge­orge Michael left a rich le­gacy of mu­sic — and of vis­ual art.

The mu­si­cian's col­lec­tion of works by some of Bri­tain's most fa­mous con­tem­po­rary artists is go­ing up for auc­tion in London next month, auc­tion­eer Christie's an­nounced Fri­day.

The sale in­cludes pieces by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lu­cas and other mem­bers of the “Young Bri­tish Artists” gen­er­a­tion who, like Michael, shook up Bri­tain's cre­ative scene in the 1980s and ‘90s.

Cris­tian Albu, co-head of post­war and con­tem­po­rary art at Christie's, said the col­lec­tion is “a por­trait of Bri­tain in the 1990s.”

He said Michael wanted “to cel­e­brate a time in which new life was breathed into London,” and be­gan buy­ing works by artists who be­came per­sonal friends.

“He was in­tro­duced to Tracey Emin and from then ev­ery­thing is his­tory,” Albu said.

“Tracey in­tro­duced him to the whole gang. ... He was go­ing to their stu­dios and they were com­ing to his con­certs.”

More than 200 works will go un­der the ham­mer, in­clud­ing Hirst's “The In­com­plete Truth,” a glass case en­clos­ing a dove pre­served in formalde­hyde, which has an es­ti­mated price of 1 mil­lion pounds to be­tween $1,280,000 and $1,920,000.

Also up for sale is one of Emin's self-re­veal­ing works, “Drunk to the Bot­tom of My Soul,” an em­broi­dered blan­ket with an es­ti­mate of 180,000 pounds to $230,400 and $320,000. The col­lec­tion in­cludes sev­eral pieces by Young Bri­tish Artists men­tor Michael Craig-Martin, in­clud­ing a pop art-style por­trait of Michael, com­mis­sioned by the mu­si­cian and es­ti­mated at 60,000 pounds to 80,000 pounds ($76,800 to $102,400).

Albu said the col­lec­tion also re­veals Michael's sense of hu­mor.

In 1998, the singer was ar­rested by an un­der­cover po­lice of­fi­cer in Los An­ge­les for lewd con­duct in a pub­lic toi­let. He sat­i­rized the po­ten­tially career-threat­en­ing mo­ment in the song and video “Out­side.”

He also ac­quired three works by Craig-Martin: one em­bla­zoned “Sex”; one, called “God,” de­pict­ing a uri­nal; and one of hand­cuffs.

“He took that mo­ment and he turned it into a joke, and he turned that joke into art,” Albu said.

Christie's plans to tour the col­lec­tion in­ter­na­tion­ally be­fore the sale in London on March 14, with stops in New York, Los An­ge­les, Hong Kong and Shang­hai. Some lots will also be sold in an on­line auc­tion run­ning March 8-15.

Michael's trus­tees say pro­ceeds will go to con­tinue his phil­an­thropic work.

Michael burst to fame in the 1980s with pop duo Wham! and went on

Christie’s plans to tour the col­lec­tion in­ter­na­tion­ally be­fore the sale in London on March 14, with stops in New York, Los An­ge­les, Hong Kong and Shang­hai. Some lots will also be sold in an on­line auc­tion run­ning March 8-15.

to sell more than 100 mil­lion al­bums around the world. He died on Dec. 25, 2016, aged 53, from heart dis­ease and a build-up of fat in his liver.

The sale in­cludes pieces by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lu­cas and other mem­bers of the “Young Bri­tish Artists” gen­er­a­tion who, like Michael, shook up Bri­tain’s cre­ative scene in the 1980s and ‘90s.

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