Christie’s Wants You to Have Faith in Singer George Michael’s Collection of YBA Art, Going to Auction in London Next Month

Highlights from the former Wham! singer include works by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, and Michael Craig-Martin

George Michael. Photo by Rankin Photography. Image courtesy Rankin.

Christie’s is selling the eclectic art collection of the late pop star and “Freedom” crooner George Michael, the auction house announced this morning. This sale in London on March 14 ticks all the boxes: a beloved celebrity owner, a personal collection of work by top-notch artists, and a charitable cause.

Over the years, the British singer visited galleries and artist studios, developing friendships with a number of YBAs, whose work he deeply admired. The collection of more than 200 objects includes works by many of these artists: An embroidered blanket by Tracey Emin, Drunk to the Bottom of my Soul (2002), will be offered with an estimate of $230,400 to $320,000, while a mixed media work by Damien Hirst, The Incomplete Truth (2006) is estimated at $1.2 million to $1.9 million. Both were acquired via White Cube Gallery.

Other highlights include Bridget Riley‘s Birdsong (1982) which is estimated at $512,000 to $768,000, and a portrait of the singer by Michael Craig-Martin from 2007 (estimate: $76,800 to $102,400).

Bridget Riley, Songbird (1982). Image courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

Bridget Riley, Birdsong (1982). Image courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.

George Michael, born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in London in 1963, died just over two years ago. His first breakthrough was as one half of the duo Wham! with Andrew Ridgely. Their 1984 album Make It Big did just that, yielding three top singles including “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” “Careless Whisper,” and “Everything She Wants.”

As a solo artist, Michael’s first hit was “I Knew You Were Waiting For Me,” a duet with legendary singer Aretha Franklin. Throughout his career, the pop star racked up ten number-one hits, including “Faith,” “Father Figure,” “One More Try,” and “Monkey.” During his lifetime he supported a number of philanthropic causes, including AIDS charity Sidaction, Red Hot Organization, and Childline.

Michael Craig-Martin, Commissioned Self-Portrait (George) (2007). Image courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

Michael Craig-Martin, Commissioned Portrait (George) (2007). Image courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.

Key works from the collection will be unveiled in New York today (through February 11) before touring Los Angeles in time for the inaugural Frieze Week there (February 11-16). The highlights will then go on view in Hong Kong (February 19-22) and the complete collection will be on view at Christie’s headquarters on King Street in London, from March 9-14.

An online sale with with more approachable price points—estimates range from $520 to $1,900 (£400 to £1,500)—will be on from March 8-15.


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