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Bowie sale smashes expectations as Basquiat fetches $8.8M


    A woman as she looks at a painting by Damien Hirst in front of a portrait of David Bowie at Sotheby’s in London.

LONDON >> Buyers have snapped up modern artworks collected by David Bowie, with a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat selling for more than $8.8 million at a London auction.

The first part of Sotheby’s two-day Bowie sale Thursday netted 24.3 million pounds ($30.3 million), more than double its upper pre-sale estimate.

The musician, who died in January aged 69, was a passionate collector of contemporary and modern art.

The top lot, Basquiat’s “Air Power,” sold for $8.8 million. Another, untitled Basquiat sold for $2.96 million.

Bowie played Andy Warhol in “Basquiat,” Julian Schnabel’s 1996 biopic of the American artist.

Frank Auerbach’s painting “Head of Gerda Boehm” sold for $4.7 million, 10 times its estimate and a record for the British artist.

A “spin” painting by British artist Damien Hirst, created with Bowie’s help, sold for $939,000.

Sotheby’s said Thursday’s auction was a “white glove sale,” meaning every lot was sold. Bids came from 46 countries.

Oliver Barker, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said “the market totally responded to David Bowie and this wonderful collection that he put together.”

More of Bowie’s collection is due to be auctioned Friday.

The sale, of 400 items in all, also includes pieces of furniture and design from Bowie’s collection.

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