Bowie sale smashes expectations as Basquiat fetches $8.8M

FILE - This is a Wednesday, July 20, 2016 file photo of Sotheby's employees as they  lift the painting "Air Power" by Jean-Michel Basquiat at Sotheby's in London. Buyers have snapped up modern artworks collected by David Bowie at a London auction, with a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat selling for more than 7 million pounds ($8.8 million). The first part of Sotheby's two-part Bowie sale netted 24.3 million pounds ($30.3 million), more than double its pre-sale estimate. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
FILE - This is a Wednesday, July 20, 2016 file photo of Sotheby's employees as they lift the painting "Air Power" by Jean-Michel Basquiat at Sotheby's in London. Buyers have snapped up modern artworks collected by David Bowie at a London auction, with a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat selling for more than 7 million pounds ($8.8 million). The first part of Sotheby's two-part Bowie sale netted 24.3 million pounds ($30.3 million), more than double its pre-sale estimate. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

LONDON (AP) — Buyers have snapped up modern artworks collected by David Bowie, with a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat selling for more than 7 million pounds ($8.8 million) at a London auction.

The first part of Sotheby’s two-day Bowie sale Thursday netted 24.3 million pounds ($30.3 million), more than double its upper pre-sale estimate.

The musician, who died in January aged 69, was a passionate collector of contemporary and modern art.

The top lot, Basquiat’s “Air Power,” sold for 7.1 million pounds ($8.8 million). Another, untitled Basquiat sold for 2.4 million pounds ($2.96 million).

Bowie played Andy Warhol in “Basquiat,” Julian Schnabel’s 1996 biopic of the American artist.

Frank Auerbach’s painting “Head of Gerda Boehm” sold for 3.8 million pounds ($4.7 million), 10 times its estimate and a record for the British artist.

A “spin” painting by British artist Damien Hirst, created with Bowie’s help, sold for $755,000 ($939,000).

Sotheby’s said Thursday’s auction was a “white glove sale,” meaning every lot was sold. Bids came from 46 countries.

Oliver Barker, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said “the market totally responded to David Bowie and this wonderful collection that he put together.”

More of Bowie’s collection is due to be auctioned Friday.

The sale, of 400 items in all, also includes pieces of furniture and design from Bowie’s collection.

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