Christie’s March 14th evening auction of pop artist George Michael’s collection resulted in just over £9.2 million ($12.3 million). The white glove sale boasted 60 artworks owned by the late great singer, songwriter, and icon who was known for supporting the Young British Artists. The auction followed a world tour of selected artworks from the singer’s collection that began in New York, then stopped in LA and Hong Kong before coming to Christie’s London location.
Unsurprisingly, the collection attracted a number of art and music enthusiasts with over 12,000 visitors coming to view the collection. During the auction, registered bidders spanned 27 countries with 24% of them being new bidders to Christie’s. The evening auction was accompanied by an online sale that garnered over $2 million and wrapped up at noon on March 15th. Proceeds from the sales will be used to further and continue George Michael’s philanthropic work, which was ‘was hugely important for George during his lifetime and it was his wish that this work would continue after his passing,’ according to George Michael’s Trustees.
The sale also resulted in four artists setting auction records. A collage work by Jim Lambie (b. 1964) fittingly titled Careless Whisper (2009) sold for £175,000, more than ten times its estimates of $12,000-$18,000. Angus Fairhurst (1966-2008) also set a personal record with his sculpture A Couple of Differences Between Thinking and Feeling II, which sold for £118,750. In addition to this, Fairhurst’s work set medium records as did a painting by Tracey Emin. Expected to go for £30,000-£50,000, Harland Miller’s (b. 1964) painting Incurable Romantic Seeks Dirty Filthy Whore set a record bringing in nearly three times the highest presale estimate at £237,500. Lastly, Relationships II by James White (b. 1967) set his record going for £22,500, over double presale estimates.
After the auction, Jussi Plykkänen, global president of Christie’s and the auctioneer for the sale said in a statement:
‘Tonight’s sale was another great moment for the London art market and particularly for so many YBA artists. We are delighted to have organised this landmark auction of The Collection of George Michael. An innovative collaboration with the Trustees of the George Michael Estate, we have witnessed significant footfall from fans and collectors alike to the exhibition. To realise such a significant sum, with proceeds from the sale being used to continue George Michael’s philanthropic work, is what we’ve all been working towards. We hope the charities who will ultimately benefit will be pleased with the outcome.’