Freddie Mercury – Last painting Queen star bought to gaze at in his final weeks

Freddie Mercury exhibition opens at Sotheby’s

During his short 45 years, Freddie Mercury built an impressive private art collection which is now on display to the public for the next few weeks at Sotheby’s in London.

His former lover Mary Austin, to who he left his Garden Lodge home and its contents, is auctioning off the Queen singer’s possessions from early September.

Among the treasure trove of personal effects is the last painting the star purchased.

Freddie bought this artwork in question from Christie’s a month before his death from AIDS-related illness on November 24, 1991.

The portrait is James-Jacques-Joseph Tissot’s Type of Beauty, which was painted in 1880 and is set to sell at auction for £400,000-600,000 next month.

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During a press tour of Sotheby’s Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own exhibition that took part in, the auctioneer told us: “One of the most special and moving items in the collection is this painting. This is Tissot’s portrait called Type of Beauty. It’s a portrait of his lover Kathleen Newton.

“Freddie bought this right at the end of his life and it was hung at Garden Lodge from where his sofa was, from where he was sitting. It was brought in and it was hung so he could gaze at it.

“I think he identified with Tissot. He was always interested in artists that perhaps were different and perhaps lived outside the normal realms of the societies that they inhabited. So I think possibly in Tissot we find a kindred spirit.”

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The lot’s details on the Sotheby’s website adds: “Freddie Mercury bought Type of Beauty on 25 October 1991, only a month before he died. Whether he knew the tragic story of Kathleen’s premature death and whether it struck a chord with his own waning health is not known, but he would certainly have responded to the themes of fashion and fame that are embodied in the painting.

“Kathleen’s flamboyant clothing, the nod to Japoniste taste suggested by the black fan and the blooming flowers surrounding her would have appealed to Freddie Mercury’s love of fashion, Japanese style and gardens.”

For more information on the lot click here.

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