George Michael art collection a big hit at London auction

Jussi Pylkkänen, Christie’s global president and auctioneer for the George Michael Collection selling ‘Careless Whisper’ by Jim Lambie for £175,000 / $232,400 / €204,925. © Christie’s Images Limited 2019 / Rankin

LONDON – Christie’s much-anticipated auction of the art collection of George Michael has realized £9.3 million / $12.3 million / €10.8 million. Proceeds from the auction Thursday will be used to continue the late British singer and songwriter’s philanthropic work.

Following the presale exhibition that attracted over 12,000 visitors, the evening auction welcomed registered bidders from 27 countries across five continents, reflecting the global appeal of George Michael and the Young British Artists.

All 60 lots in the Thursday evening session sold. The online auction concluded today.

“Tonight’s sale was another great moment for the London art market and particularly for so many YBA artists,” said Jussi Pylkkänen, global president of Christie’s.

A world auction record was established for Jim Lambie with Careless Whisper realizing £175,000 / $232,400 / €204,925, over 10 times its estimate. Further artist records were set with A Couple of Differences Between Thinking and Feeling II by Angus Fairhurst, which sold for £118,750 / £157,700 / €139,056; Incurable Romantic Seeks Dirty Filthy Whore by Harland Miller, which achieved £237,500 / $315,400 / €278,113; and Relationships II by James White, which realized £22,500 / $29,880 / €26,348. Records in the medium were achieved for a Tracey Emin painting and an Angus Fairhurst collage.

One of the most influential and best-selling recording artists of the ’80s and ’90s, 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. Through visits to galleries and artists’ studios, he developed friendships with many of the YBA artists whose work he deeply admired.

Key works from the George Michael Collection were unveiled during the global highlights tour which began in New York and continued on to Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Shanghai.