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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 12th August 2016 > JOHN, I’M ONLY PAINTING


David Bowie’s private collection, which goes on sale later this year, proves how closely art was entwined with his life and career


TAKE A MAP of London. Draw a line north from the Royal Academy of Arts on Piccadilly, where visitors are lining up for a show of David Hockney self-portraits, up to the Wallace Collection, where the curators are preparing an exhibition of Tom Ellis’s figurative paintings. On the way, your pencil will travel past Sotheby’s, the august British auction house. It’s busy there too, though perhaps for slightly less than pure artistic reasons. In two small rooms at Sotheby’s rear, a group is standing in front of a splashy Damien Hirst painting. It’s a psychedelic, circular piece, popping with oily, vibrant colors and named, with typical Hirstian understatement, Beautiful, Shattering, Slashing, Violent, Pinky, Hacking, Sphincter Painting (1995). These onlookers might be Hirst fans—or, then again, not, because this isn’t just any Damien Hirst. This is a David Bowie Damien Hirst.

BRUSH WITH FATE: A longtime pal says Bowie was rubbish as a painter but had an extraordinary eye for the work of other artists.
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