‘The Incomplete Truth’ by Damien Hirst
‘The Incomplete Truth’ by Damien Hirst (b.1965), a dove in formaldehyde from 2006. One from an edition of three plus one artist’s proof, it sold for £911,250 (including premium) at the evening auction of works from the George Michael collection at Christie’s. Image copyright: Christie’s Images Limited 2019.

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One from an edition of three plus one artist’s proof, it was estimated at £1m-1.5m but sold below expectations at £911,250 (including premium).

The collection included other works by Hirst as well as other artists in the group known as the Young British Artists. George Michael developed friendships with many of the YBAs as he visited galleries and artists’ studios and acquired works directly.

With estimates from £400 upwards, the auction was billed as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for collectors, art lovers and legions of fans to acquire works from the legendary recording artist’s private collection”.

With proceeds from the sale are being used to continue the late pop star’s philanthropic work, all 60 lots sold on the night for a total of £9.26m (including premium).

The sale drew great attention from the world’s media and a message on the Christie’s website to those trying to view the sale online read: “Due to great interest in this sale, Christie's LIVE™ has reached the maximum capacity for the number of online bidders and viewers and is currently unavailable.”

George Michael. Image copyright Rankin Photography.

The singer George Michael who died in 2016 and whose art collection is now being sold at Christie’s. Image copyright: Rankin Photography Ltd.

Other works by Hirst selling at the auction were Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain, a bullock in formaldehyde from 2007 which also sold below a £1m-1.5m estimate, making £875,250 (including premium), and Saint Bartholomew, a group of fish in formaldehyde from 2006 that sold at £250,000 (including premium) against an estimate of £250,000-350,000.

A further 112 lots from the George Michael collection are being offered by Christie’s in an online timed sale that closes on March 15 at 12pm (GMT).