On 7 June Elton John is offering a painting at auction by two of New York’s enfant terribles: Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. The work, Untitled (1984-1985), is estimated to fetch between €700,000-1,000,000 at the auction at Sotheby’s in Paris.
Untitled, 1984-1985 is the result of a collaboration between two 20th century creative powerhouses. Back in 1980, in a café, a young and unknown Jean-Michel Basquiat approached the already notorious Andy Warhol, whom he idolized. Their collaboration began four years later. Elton John also met the Andy Warhol on numerous occasions, so it makes sense that he bought several of his works.
In this work, a Memento Mori – a recurring motif in Warhol’s work, is juxtaposed with a bright red organ symbolising an endlessly renewed vital energy. The disenchantment of one enters into symbiosis with the obsessions of the other, paving the way to a fascinating dialogue.
Elton John and his husband David Furnish have built up a large collection of contemporary art by the most iconic artists of the last five decades; including Willem de Kooning, Louise Bourgeois, Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst and Keith Haring, along with 7,000 photographs. On that same note, next November, the exhibition at the Tate Modern, A Radical Eye: the Sir Elton John Collection, will reveal 150 photographs from this remarkable collection.