George Michael's art collection sells for £9.3m at auction

The Incomplete Truth

In his lifetime the London-born performer was known for his philanthropy and that will continue after his death with the funds raised tonight.

A collection of contemporary art owned by late pop idol George Michael, including works by Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, has been sold for £9.2 million, Christie's auction house said.

Michael, who died on Christmas Day in 2016 at the age of 53, built his collection through visits to galleries and artists' studios.

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Michael was a keen collector of works by the Young British Art movement and developed friendships with numerous artists, visiting their galleries and studios.

The top prices on the night were achieved for works by artists who George Michael knew and collected in depth, or for pieces that had particular resonance with the star who sold over 120 million records in a glittering 35-year career.

A Couple of Differences Between Thinking and Feeling II
A Couple of Differences Between Thinking and Feeling II CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2019

Proceeds of the auction will go towards Michael's various philanthropic ventures, the auctioneers said. It attracted bidders from 27 countries across five continents, with competitive bidding taking place in London and via simulcast from NY.

They included pieces by Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.

The Incomplete Truth sold for £911,250 whilst the second highest selling item was Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain - also by Hirst and from the same series.

A life-size bronze gorilla by Angus Fairhurst that used to sit in Michael's garden also went under the hammer, fetching £118,750.

According to Cristian Albu from Christie's, Michael's "most intense" period of art-buying took place between 2004 and 2009.

In the lead-up to the auction key works from Michael's collection were shown in New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Shanghai, before returning to London where the sale of catalogs and limited-edition tote bags raised a further £250,000 ($332,000) for Michael's philanthropic works.

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