Art lovers and fans of the late George Michael will have the chance to buy one of his many impressive artworks in a unique auction next month.
The singer-songwriter, who died suddenly on Christmas Day 2016, was a major supporter of British artists, including the likes of Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.
Michael, who shot to fame in the 1980s as one half of pop band Wham!, amassed a noteworthy and valuable collection during his lifetime.
After his death at the age of 53, which an inquest attributed to “natural causes,” stories emerged in the British press of Michael’s largely unpublicized but extensive support for many charities.
Michael Craig-Martin’s portrait of George Michael. Credit: MICHAEL CRAIG-MARTIN/George Michael Collection
Christie’s has confirmed that this sale will enable this philanthropy to continue, with the proceeds of the auction going to good causes, though it is not yet known which organizations will benefit.
Jussi Pylkkänen, global president of Christie’s, said in a statement on the company’s website: “We are delighted to be organizing this major auction of The Collection of George Michael to allow his philanthropic work to continue.
“George Michael was a much-admired creative genius of the music industry and the viewing of over 200 works of art from the private collection will provide a fascinating insight into the broader tastes of a man who was deeply admired all over the world.”
Damien Hirst’s The Incomplete Truth, from 2006. Credit: damien hirst/George Michael Collection
According to Christie’s, the collection “represents a unique dialogue between a great British music artist and his contemporaries in the visual arts.”
Born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in London in 1963, Michael, whose biggest hits included “Careless Whisper,” “Last Christmas” and “Fastlove,” collaborated with many global stars, including Aretha Franklin, Elton John and Luciano Pavarotti.
According to Christie’s website, the collection shows Michael’s “dedication to cutting-edge creativity in every field and reflects his instinctive support of young emerging artistic talent,” many of whom he went on to become friends with.
George Michael photographed by Rankin. Credit: Rankin
The flagship auction will take place on March 14, alongside an online sale which will be open for bidding from March 8-15. Pieces are estimated to be worth between £400 ($516) and £1,500,000 ($1,920,000).
Tracey Emin’s Drunk to the Bottom of my Soul, produced in 2002. Credit: TRACEY EMIN/George Michael Collection
Supporting the auction, George Michael’s trustees said: “The Art Collection of George Michael reflects the friendships built between one of the UK’s most acclaimed musical artists and the visual artists who were creating artworks at a seminal moment in British cultural history.
“Philanthropic work was hugely important for George during his lifetime and it was his wish that this work would continue after his passing.”
The works will be unveiled during a global tour ahead of the auction. Having started in New York, the art will be on display in Los Angeles this week, before moving on to Hong Kong and Shanghai.
The complete collection will then be open to the public for six days in the London branch of Christie’s. The live auction will feature around 75 works, with a further 130 presented in the six-day long online sale.
Key works in the sale will include Damien Hirst’s The Incomplete Truth (2006), which is expected to sell for up to £1,500,000.