Sotheby’s wants to spice up the Old Masters. The auction house is partnering with former Spice Girl-turned-fashion designer Victoria Beckham ahead of its Old Masters sale in July. The ‘90s-era pop star will select 16 works by the likes of Rubens and Cranach to show at her boutique in London’s tony Mayfair neighborhood.
The works chosen by Beckham will remain on view in her store until June 27th and will be offered at Sotheby’s on July 4th. The auction house hopes that showcasing Old Masters works in such an unexpected environment will broaden the appeal of a genre that has fallen out of favor with today’s generation of collectors. Maybe a little Posh Spice is the missing ingredient to make it happen.
Beckham and her equally famous husband David are occasional collectors, but they reportedly focus on more contemporary artists like Sam Taylor Wood, Banksy, and Tracey Emin. This is the first time the designer has tried her hand at curating. She says a recent museum visit sparked her interest in Old Masters.
“It was my first visit to the Frick in New York last year that really opened my eyes to Old Master and is where my fascination began,” Beckham said in a statement about the project. “To have now been given the opportunity to start to learn about them… and have these portraits hanging within my retail space is literally a dream come true.”
For the exhibition, Beckham chose to focus on portraits, which will be installed across all three levels of he designer’s stylish flagship boutique. She selected paintings by some of the most renowned artists within the genre and across a range of eras, from the Renaissance and Dutch Golden Age to the British 18th century.
Sotheby’s Old Masters specialist Chloe Stead hopes the collaboration will spark conversation. “I hope, that in presenting Victoria’s selection of portraits by the Old Masters in this wonderfully unexpected, modern and sleek space we will be able to participate in some small way in the dialogue surrounding the magic of painted portraiture, and its enduring appeal, even in our modern age of selfie-overload!” she said in a statement.
Sotheby’s partnership with Beckham is just the latest in a series of pop-culture collaborations for the auction house. In May, the 274-year-old company staged a performance artwork with rap star A$AP Rocky in New York.