While curating the upcoming Christie’s exhibition and auction, Kate Moss – The Collection, art collector Gert Elfering made a trenchant comment: “I found myself delighted by the variety and consistent power of the works.” After all, as this selection of 58 photographs and artworks portraying the world’s most famous model demonstrates, the thoroughly chameleonic Moss has assumed a dizzying spectrum of guises. Yet, with her combination of wing-mirror cheekbones, smouldering gaze and effortless flair for fashion, she is also unmistakable.
The September 25 sale – which is preceded by a public exhibition from September 21 – is unique for including new artworks specially commissioned by Elfering. These include pop artist Allen Jones’s photograph Body Armour (first picture, estimated between £20,000 and £30,000), which represents Moss in a bronze bodysuit – a modern-day Barbarella.
For ardent Moss fans, this is also a must-see retrospective spanning her entire career since the early 1990s. A 1997 Bruce Weber photograph depicts her blowing bubbles, girlish and insouciant (second picture, estimated between £4,000 and £6,000). By 2003, mimicking David Bowie as Aladdin Sane in a Nick Knight image for Vogue, she looks stylised and vampish (third picture, estimated between £25,000 and £35,000).
Another striking image is Chuck Close’s tapestry of 2007, based on a Daguerreotype portrait (fourth picture, estimated between £60,000 and £80,000). The latter is paradoxical: this imposing image – it measures approximately 272cm by 183cm – suggests the idea of a cultural icon on a pedestal, yet Moss is shown in unvarnished, natural mode, the polar opposite of a flawless supermodel.
Across the collection going under the hammer, a plethora of photographic techniques are in evidence – from gelatin silver prints to chromogenic images. Satisfyingly, this variety mirrors Moss’s adoption of countless looks, which only adds to the collection’s appeal.