'I started collecting about seven years ago, firstly with photography, and that's where my connection with Sotheby's began,’ says Erdem Moralioglu, just days after his celebrated A/W 2016 London Fashion Week show. He's surrounded by art works that will feature in the auction house’s first ‘Contemporary Curated’ London sale, guest edited by Moralioglu and taking place on 15 March.
Looking at a cluster of paintings that includes works by Georg Baselitz, Lucian Freud, Louise Bourgeois and Marlene Dumas, Moralioglu explains his selection criteria: ‘You can see the touch of the human hand across them all,’ he says, before acknowledging George Condo’s Untitled miniature, 2000, as his favourite lot.
‘It’s a fascinating process working with an auction house through all aspects of the sale, from cataloging to getting to grips with the body of work,’ Moralioglu continues, having also celebrated his brand’s 10th anniversary at the art specialist’s London S2 gallery last December. ‘It’s been an amazing learning curve, which I was really happy to be a part of.’
Renowned for his modern use of innovative textiles and original prints, the first work the Royal College of Art alumnus bought himself was a photograph by German Wolfgang Tillmans, and he has since moved onto illustration and painting for his personal collection. Opening his first retail space on London’s South Audley Street last year provided further impetus to invest. Moralioglu currently has a David Hockney photo collage and drawings by Andy Warhol and Jean Cocteau in store, while his latest purchases include works by Candida Höfer and Rineke Dijkstra.
But back to Sotheby's' lot: the expansive auction comprises 205 works with an average price point of £11,000, and spans American figurative painting, abstraction, sculpture and photography, with highlights including Josef Albers’ Study for Hommage to the Square: Framed Sky ‘C', 1970, and Yayoi Kusama’s Fear of Death, 2008.
‘The selection is an extraordinary mix,’ says Joanna Steingold, Sotheby's deputy director and head of 'Contemporary Curated'. ‘It’s not just works of £100,000 plus, it is starting from £500 through to a top lot by Antony Gormley at an estimated £200,000,' she explains. ‘We really want to invite the new curious collectors with this sale, and encourage people who might not have thought that they were able to buy from Sotheby’s before.’
The 'Contemporary Curated' series was first launched in the United States in 2013, and has since featured auctions guest curated by American author and avid collector James Frey, Tamara Mellon, Anna Sui and NFL player Keith Rivers. The next London satellite will take place in September this year.