George Michael's art collection, which was viewed by 12,000 visitors at the pre-auction exhibition, sold for more than $15 million at a two-day auction at Christie's. All of the earnings will be used to continue the late singer’s philanthropic efforts.
Michael was a major supporter of the Young British Art movement and collected dozens of pieces throughout his lifetime, even developing friendships with many of the artists.
"George Michael developed friendships with many of these YBA artists through visits to galleries and their studios, and the collection reflects his dedication to cutting-edge creativity and his instinctive support of young, emerging artistic talent," Christie’s auction house in London said of Michael’s collection.
Some highlights of the auction include: two works by Damien Hirst – The Incomplete Truth and Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain – that sold for a combined $2.3 million, a Tracey Emin neon titled George Loves Kenny went for $461,000, Michael Craig-Martin’s Commissioned Portrait Untitled (George) sold for $231,000, and Jim Lambie’s Careless Whisper went for $232,000, nearly 10 times its pre-auction estimate.
An additional $332,000 was raised from the sale of catalogues and limited edition tote bags, which will also go toward Michael's ongoing philanthropy.
“Philanthropic work was hugely important for George during his lifetime and it was his wish that this work would continue after his passing,” Michael’s trustees said following the auction.
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Article image: George Michael performing on stage during the "Faith World Tour" in 1988. (University of Houston Digital Library [Available through Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons.)