How celebrities are drawing in younger collectors at art auctions

It’s hard to keep track of how many celebrities collect art. Now, their passion for the visual arts is attracting the interest of auction houses, which are inviting more and more stars to select the works that will go under the hammer during their sales.

Robert Pattinson is probably best known for his roles in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Tenet, The Lighthouse and, more recently, The Batman. However, the British actor is now trying his hand at organizing an auction. He has chosen six works of art that will go under the hammer on September 30, during the next “Contemporary Curated” sale at Sotheby’s New York.

Among them is an untitled painting by American artist Willem de Kooning, dating from 1964, Rotate #9 by his compatriot Richard Serra, or old rope by British artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. This eclectic selection reflects Pattinson’s artistic vision, which he describes as ranging in taste from “cosmic and alien” to “subversive, cheeky (and) slightly dangerous”.

These words go well with Kiss by the window by Geneve Figgis and Portrait by Thomas Houseago, two of the works in the sale that the Dusk star is particularly fond of. This is the first time that Pattinson has tried to organize an auction.

And it turned out to be a very rewarding experience, he says: “Being able to experiment and dialogue with these works according to my taste – and place massive titans of 20th century art next to living artists – was really satisfying. . “

Sotheby’s hopes that this partnership with Pattinson will be particularly fruitful, even if all the pieces selected have low estimates ranging between 30,000 US$ (135,000 RM) and 1.8 mil US$ (8.1 mil RM).

These relatively modest sums should allow the auction house to reach new (young) buyers. The rival of Christie’s has been trying for a decade to reach this new category of collectors by inviting celebrities to curate its “Contemporary Curated” sales.

Oprah Winfrey, Ellie Goulding, Kim Jones and Steve Aoki all got down to business.

Skepta will soon join this list of names. The British-Nigerian rapper – real name Chief Joseph Olaitan Adenuga, Jr – has chosen a dozen works of art currently on sale on the Sotheby’s website as part of the latest London edition of its “Contemporary Curated” sale. .

Paintings by Frank Bowling, Ouattara Watts and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye are part of this selection, which represents only a small part of the many lots up for auction until September 13.

Unlike Pattinson, Skepta did not just select the creations of other artists. He also added one of his own, titled Mom is going to the market.

The musician did so in the spring of 2020, when all of his concerts had been canceled due to the pandemic.

“I guess I was so used to expressing myself all the time, every other day, doing a show somewhere new,” he told the Financial Times.

“So I just ordered the oil paints and the canvas (from Amazon).”

The result is a colorful painting, which depicts two women in a market scene.

Sotheby’s estimates that Mom goes to the market could sell for between £40,000 (RM209,000) and £60,000 (RM313,000).

However, even though bidding takes off, Skepta currently has no plans to do any more paintings in the future. -AFP

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