Should any of us be surprised that the late great David Bowie was a collector of Memphis Group housewares? Of freaking course not. While we may still be feeling the loss of the artist and the cataclysmic year his ascendance has thrown us into, there are a few small silver linings to letting him go. Chief among them are the peeks at his thoughtful taste and curation provided by auctions like this one.
Michele de Lucci, Continental Side Table
When Bowie wasn't recording generation-defining albums, filming cult classics, or inspiring whatever party scene he currently graced, he supported and bought amazing art. One of the up and coming designers he took particular interest in was Ettore Sottsass. Work by Sottsass and the Memphis Group makes up the bulk of the 100 piece selection recently auctioned off at Southeby's.
The pieces span a wide range, from Sottsass' early '50s work and '60s pieces by Pier Giacomo and Achille Castiglioni for Brionvega, to the later '80s Memphis collection. There are several lots of gorgeously contemporary ceramics and a surprising amount of classic and funky, if uncomfortable, furniture.
Andrea Branzi, Gritti bookshelf
Bowie's collections are subject to a good deal of discussion, and this slice shows a bit of the cleanliness, hyper vigilance and whimsy he was known for in his own work. While we might not be able to match his collecting budge or his vision, seeing which pieces he enjoyed is a sweet way to review these wiggly and innovative designers.
George J. Sowden, Potato Serving Tray Michele de Lucchi, First chairs Ettore Sottsass, Dinner plates Peter Shire, Big Sur sofa
As you should also not be surprised to learn, they've all sold. But you can see the full auction listing here.