On March 1st, Christie’s will be featuring the collection of singer/songwriter George Michael (1963-2016) at their London location. Boasting over 200 artworks, the London auction and online portion of the sale will showcase how Michael weaved together a unique blend of artists, including a number of works by YBA (Young British Artists). The proceeds from the sale of the iconic singer will go on to support the continued philanthropic work of the late artist.
Michael first shot into stardom as part of the Wham! duo responsible for the hit Christmas song ‘Last Christmas’. Over the course of 35 years, Michael evolved as an artist and in the 1980s, set off as a solo artist and continued to thrive. Worldwide, the singer sold more than 100 million albums, ceaselessly drew people to his concerts featuring hits like ‘Careless Whisper’, ‘Faith’, and ‘A Different Corner’. Michael simply redefined the music industry and left a lasting impact on it and he has the awards to prove it – in fact, he’s the only artist to have won three Ivor Novello Awards for Songwriter.
During his career he would brush shoulders with and perform alongside the likes of Whitney Houston, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Aretha Franklin, but these weren’t the only stars with which he kept company. In addition to these insanely talented singers, Michael is often associated with a group of influential visual artists, as well known as the YBA. The movement included artists like Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, and Marc Quinn, many of whom Michael, over time, fostered friendships with.
The George Michael Collection, as the sale is touted as, will include a number of invaluable works. One of which is Hirst’s The Incomplete Truth (2006, estimated to sell for £1-1.5 million) – a true example of Hirst’s work with animals suspended in formaldehyde and various organs on display in his ‘Natural History’ series. A large-scale variation on Emin’s textile works, Drunk to the Bottom of My Soul (2002, estimated to bring in £180,000-£250,000) will be included in the sale as will Bridget Riley’s Songbird (1982). The multicoloured, vertically-striped canvas was one of Michael’s favourite works in his collection. The artwork, expected to sell for £400,000-£600,000) actually hung over the fireplace in Michael’s home
The works that represent Michael’s life and legacy will embark on an expansive tour around the world including stops in China – where Wham! played two groundbreaking tours in 1985 making them the first major Western performers to do so. The exhibition debuted in New York between February 8th and 11th before moving on to LA (February 11th-16th), the Hong Kong (February 19th-22nd), and will wrap up at Christie’s London office between March 9th and 14th. The online portion of the auction will be live from March 8th through the 15th with a single auction taking place on March 14th.