George Michael's art collection worth millions of dollars up for auction

George Michael

He's one of the most influential recording artists of all time, known for seminal 1980s and 90s hits like and Wake Me Up Before You Go Go and Faith - and as a campaigner for LGBTQ rights - but the late George Michael was also a prolific art collector.

As Christie's note in a release, George Michael had strong ties to contemporary visual artists and enjoyed supporting emerging talent, visiting their galleries and studios.

As well as extending George Michael's long legacy as a supporter of many deserving causes, the sale of the collection represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for collectors, art lovers and the star's legions of fans to acquire art that he owned.

Cristian Albu, co-head of Post-War and Contemporary at Christie's, said that Michael's collection "is a celebration of the YBA movement's spirit of creativity and adventure in the late 1990s".

"He was introduced to Tracey Emin and from then everything is history", Albu said.

The centerpiece of the sale will be Hirst's 2006 work "The Incomplete Truth", showing a dove suspended mid-flight in formaldehyde, which is expected to go for 1.5 million pounds (around $1.9 million).

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Key works in the sale will include Tracey Emin's 'Drunk to the Bottom of My Soul' (2002) - a large-scale example of the artist's celebrated appliquéd blankets, which transform traditional textile-based media into vehicles for raw, confessional poetry.

FILE - In this February 12, 2008 file photo, an unidentified person walks behind "The Incomplete Truth" by artist Damien Hirst that is on display at The Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas. He also developed friendships with members of the Young British Artists (YBA) movement, including Emin, Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Michael Craig-Martin and Marc Quinn.

Albu said the collection also reveals Michael's sense of humor. In 1998, he was arrested by an undercover police officer in Los Angeles for lewd conduct in a public toilet. He satirized the potentially career-threatening moment in the song and video "Outside".

He sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, packed stadiums and arenas from Tokyo to Tampa, and won scores of major awards, redefining pop music in the process. Some pieces lots will also be sold in an online auction running from March 8-15.

Christie's said in a statement Friday the proceeds from the sale will go toward Michael's various philanthropic ventures. He died at age 53 in 2016.

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