By the end of a 10-minute battle, eight bidders had driven Frank Auerbach’s mesmerising Head of Gerda Boehm to £3,789,000 ($4,710,106), a record for the artist at auction (est. £300,000-500,000). In an interview with the New York Times in 1998 Bowie described the whole gamut of reactions that this work provoked when he looked at it, exclaiming “My God, yeah! I want to sound like that looks”. A portrait of the artist’s cousin, Head of Gerda Boehm was last exhibited at the Royal Academy in London when Bowie lent the work to Auerbach’s much-heralded retrospective in 2001.
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Air Power became the most valuable work sold at the auction tonight when it was pursued by six bidders who pushed the final sale price to £7,093,000 ($8,817,308 ) after a 5-minute bidding battle, double the pre-sale high estimate (est. £2.5-3.5m).
A second work by Basquiat, Untitled, also dated 1984, sold for £2,389,000 ($2,969,766), against an estimate of £500,000-700,000.
Damien Hirst’s Beautiful, hallo, space-boy painting, created in collaboration with David Bowie when he visited Hirst’s studio in 1995, tripled its low estimate to sell for £785,000 ($975,834) (est. £250,000-350,000).
A second spin painting by Hirst, Beautiful, Shattering, Slashing, Violent, Pinky, Hacking, Sphincter Painting, also dated 1995, exceeded its pre-sale estimate to sell for £755,000 ($938,540) (est. £250,000-350,000).