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Bowie/Collector: Ettore Sottsass and Memphis at Sotheby's

Bowie/Collector: Ettore Sottsass and Memphis at Sotheby's
24 Oct 2016

On November, Sotheby’s will stage Bowie/Collector, a three-part sale encompassing over 350 works from the private collection of legendary musician David Bowie.

David Bowie was a musician, actor and icon, as well as a publisher, curator and magazine editor with Modern British art at the heart of those passions. Born in South London, it’s perhaps no surprise that he was drawn to chroniclers of the capital’s streets such as Harold Gilman and Frank Auerbach while he also collected St Ives-based painter Peter Lanyon in particular depth. However, his collection is by no means limited to British art alone and also encompasses Contemporary African art, self-taught artists from Vienna’s Gugging institution, as well as designs by Ettore Sottsass and the revolutionary Memphis group.

Peter Shire 'Big Sur' sofa

Ettore Sottsass ’Tartar' centre table

Andrea Branzi 'Gritti' bookshelf

Ettore Sottsass 'Valigia' table lamp

Marco Zanini 'Roma' armchair

Michele de Lucchi 'Continental' side table


I am surprised how fast the collection went up for sale after his death. Obviously plans were in place for it all to go. I don't have any objections to Memphis Modern per se, but I don't find it that livable for the average home/apartment. For a while Disney had a Mickey village with Mickey's house in it and I swear most of the furniture in it was exaggerated versions of Memphis Modern. I can totally see elements of Memphis Modern in a lot of newer apartments, but unlike Danish which works in a lot of homes with a lot of styles across many decades, Memphis will forever look best in art deco buildings and architectonica designed 80's towers in Miami.

Very innovative, the first one is the one I prefer. And it may also be used in combination with some of the lighting here

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