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George Michael Collection generates $12 million at Christie’s auction

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The outcome of the evening sale of George Michael Collection raised £9,264,000 / $12,302,590 / €10,848,145. Proceeds from the sale will be used to continue George Michael’s philanthropic work.
The evening sale comprised 60 lots and was 100% sold at King Street in London on March 14 and a further 112 feature in an online timed sale that run until March 15.

The key works from the collection have been taken on a tour to New York, Los Angeles Hong Kong and Shanghai before finishing in London for the public view from March 9−14.

Thousands of art collectors and George Michael fans have travelled from across the world to see the exhibition in London.
Image copyright: Christie’s
One of the most influential and best-selling recording artists of all time, George Michael’s private art collection represented a dialogue with his own British contemporaries, artists such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Michael Craig-Martin, and Marc Quinn, who rose to prominence by challenging the status quo of the time, together creating the Young British Art movement.
The pre-sale exhibition attracted over 12,000 visitors and 24% of registrants to The George Michael Collection were new to Christie’s. The evening auction welcomed registered bidders from 27 countries across 5 continents, reflecting the global appeal of George Michael and the YBAs.

In addition to the incredible collection of British art of the 20th and 21st century, visitors could enjoy the music of George Michael, which sounded throughout the building; his voice in sound installations and artifacts of his career, including stage costumes from cult video.
Michael Craig-Martin’s Commissioned Portrait (George), a wall-mounted LCD monitor/computer with integrated software, has been one of the exhibition’s star attractions
Michael Craig-Martin’s Untitled (SEX)
Drunk to the Bottom of My Soul, an appliqué blanket from 2002 by Tracey Emin (b.1963)
Many of the neon works in the collection are displayed in the St James’s Galleries, which are to the left of the main lobby at King Street
On display are original bespoke costumes from George Michael’s Freeek! video
Top lots of the auction were two significant works by Damien Hirst. One — "Incomplete Truth", acquired by the singer in 2007 — is a showcase filled with formaldehyde, with a stuffed pigeon inside. She was sold for 911 thousand 250 pounds sterling (including premium). The second — "Saint Sebastian, Exquisite pain" - the incarnation of a Christian saint in the form of a calf pierced with arrows — went for 875,250 pounds sterling. The third installation of Hirst, "Immaculate Heart", made in 2008, was purchased for 323,250 pounds.


Damien Hirst. The Incomplete Truth
The Incomplete Truth
2007, 222×176×74 cm
  • Damien Hirst. Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain, 2007. Private collection.
  • Damien Hirst. Immaculate Heart, 2008. Private collection.
Another highlights from the live auction became "Songbird" by Bridget Riley (b.1931), an oil on linen from 1982. It was sold for $1 mln (£791,250) with estimation price at £400,000−600,000.
Bridget Riley, "Songbird" (1982). Private collection
Christie’s Images Limited 2019
Among all the artists represented at the auction, Tracey Emin (b.1963) was probably closest to the singer. The most expensive of her works were "Hurricane" (2007), which brought £ 431,250 (a new auction record for the artist’s works made with acrylic), and "George Loves Kenny" — a neon installation created after a tour with the singer. The new owner bought it for £347,250. The third exhibit from Emin was an appliqué blanket from 2002 "Drunk to the bottom of my soul". It is estimated at £180,000−250,000 and was sold for £275,000.


A world auction record was established for Jim Lambie with Careless Whisper realising £175,000 / $232,400 / €204,925, over ten times its presale estimate.
Jim Lambie, "Careless Whisper" (2009). Private collection.
The auction closed on Cerith Wyn Evans' neon sign "And if I do not meet you no more …", setting a new record for the artist in this technique. It was sold for £68,750, although it was previously estimated 4.5 times cheaper.
Cerith Wyn Evans (b. 1958) And If I Dont Meet You No More… (2006). Private collection.
Five highlights from the online auction appear below.
'Death, What’s in it for Me?’, an oil on canvas from 2007 by Harland Miller (b.1964) that is estimated at £30,000-50,000 at the online auction.

Price Realized GBP 212,500
(USD 281,350)
'Bram Stoker's Chair V’, a c-print from 2005 by Sam Taylor-Johnson (b.1967). Part of an edition of six, it is estimated £8000-12,000.

Price Realized GBP 32,500
(USD 43,030)
'Untitled’ by Jim Lambie (b.1964), a mirror, enamel and photographic print collage from 2008 that is estimated at £20,000-25,000.

Price Realized GBP 56,250
(USD 74,475


'Commissioned Portrait Untitled (George)’, a wall-mounted LCD monitor/computer with integrated software from 2007 by Michael Craig-Martin (b.1941) that is estimated at £40,000-60,000.

Price Realized GBP 175,000
(USD 231,700)
'Forehead’, a fibreglass work from 1997 by Jake and Dinos Chapman (b.1966 & b.1962) that is estimated at £15,000-20,000.

Price Realized GBP 37,500
(USD 49,650)
Pop superstar George Michael died on December 25, 2016 at the age of 53. The cause of death was heart failure. After his death, they emerged that he had supported the HIV / Aids and Cancer Aid Funds; he also gave numerous hefty donations to the Childline; donated money to ordinary people in a difficult situation; played free concerts; worked undercover at a homeless shelter and even saved John Lennon’s piano. He bought this piano for £1.45million in 2000, from a private collector and donated it to the Beatles Story museum in Liverpool.

And he apparently kept more of his random charitable acts hidden too.


Based on materials from Christies’official site
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