Painters’ Favourite Painters

Mrs Mounter at the Breakfast Table by Harold Gilman

The Artist who painted this stunning portrait was Harold Gilman, some of whose other work can be found in the David Bowie collection

Artists turned Collectors

Rather unsurprisingly, Artists throughout history have not just submerged themselves in their own art but have admired, sought out and actively collected the Artwork of others. This was highlighted at the National Gallery recently when they looked at some of the work that Artists owned, admired or exchanged in its ‘Painter’s Paintings’ Exhibition.

Did you know, for instance, that Matisse and Picasso exchanged a number of paintings? Or that Degas bought works by Ingres? And the renowned British Portrait Artist, Thomas Lawrence, collected works by Raphael? The ‘Three Bathers’ by Cezanne was one such work that was once owned by Matisse.

It also transpired earlier in the year that musician, icon and artist, David Bowie, was an avid art collector too and 380 works of art from his private collection are to be auctioned by Sothebys over three auctions in November.

Although Bowie told the BBC in 1999 “The only thing I buy obsessively and addictively is art,” little had been known about his life as an art collector but the scale of the collection and the artists featured reveal a man that was very serious about his Art, had a very keen eye and a thirst for knowledge about the painters who created the works and the techniques they used. Obvious from his own on-stage personas, fashion style and artwork, Art and Design were certainly a major factor in Bowie’s life and this appreciation of visual arts came through in his music too. On purchasing Auerbach’s painting, ‘Head of Gerda Boehm’, he commented to the Artist that he wanted ‘to sound like that looks”.

He bought works that spoke to him and appealed to him personally even if they were considered out of fashion at the time and took the time to visit a number of the Artists, buying from them directly. A majority of the artists he collected were British or had spent much of their working life in the UK. Among the artists featured in his collection are Damien Hirst, Peter Lanyon, Leon Kossoff, Harold Gilman, Henry Moore, Patrick Caulfield, Stanley Spencer and Graham Sutherland, John Virtue, Marcel Duchamp and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

September 2016