Famous fashion photographer Mario Testino has decided to provide the public with his own private art collection, which includes work by artists Tracey Emin and Gilbert & George. Following this display, the works will be sold at auction at Sotheby’s in London in attempt to raise funds to Museo MATE, which Testino set up in Lima in 2013 to promote culture in Peru.
The photographer has described his art collection as precious and "a document of my time, of my eye, of the people I believe in". Over the years, Testino has worked with the likes of Princess Diana, Kate Moss, and more recently Kendall Jenner, gaining him a reputation for glamorous, vibrant photos of the rich and famous.
Since the early 1980s, Testino has built up a collection of over 500 works by artists from as many as 45 different countries.
In particular, the most valuable work to go to auction is the American Sterling Ruby, called SP114, which was created using spray paint and was inspired by the graffiti scene on the streets of Los Angeles. This work of art is expected to reach a price of in between £600,000 and £800,000.
The collection also includes a piece of abstract art by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, as well as a large oil painting by German artist Georg Baseliz.
Testino hopes that the proceedings from the ‘Shake It Up - Works from the Mario Testino Collection’ exhibition will reach £8 million in support of MATE. "I'm selling because I have a unique opportunity to change something in the country I come from," said Testino.
With the money he has, Testino states he can’t maintain the museum as getting sponsors is often quite difficult, which is why he wants to create an endowment to ensure the centre has financial security in the future.
However, the photographer isn’t giving up the entirety of this works, saying “there is something magical about a collection, but I still have some, thank God".
Mario Testino was born in Peru in 1954 and came to the UK in 1976, where at first, he struggled to make a living as a photographer, reports the BBC.
"When I arrived in England I really had no knowledge of anything to do with art," he said. This was when he realised he needed to learn more about the industry and therefore had to train himself. "By looking at other photographers I was inspired by them".
In the 1980s Testino started making money and purchased his first photograph of actress Vivien Leigh by surrealist photographer Angus McBean.
He told the BBC:"I like beauty and I think she was one of those women gifted with beauty. Beauty today is considered a bit banal and a bit empty and a bit superficial. In the art world you probably can't mention that word, because it's not interesting or not deep enough. But I'm just always amazed by it."
From this point Testino’s collection grew, where he went on to purchase works by Cecil Beaton and Richard Avedon.
The exhibition will open on September 8th at Sotheby’s and the auctions will take place on the 13th and 14th of September.