The London painter’s works have become spookily popular of late
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Collectors of the work of early 20th-century English artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare have, up until now, been of a type. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin has a notable number of paintings, as did the late Genesis P-Orridge – founder of industrial sound provocateurs Throbbing Gristle. In his memoir, Orridge describes an acquaintance shaking and shouting: “Those paintings, cover them, they’re alive!” One particular work, The Ides, depicting two aggressive-looking self-portraits of Spare flanked by Romanian prostitutes, was turned to face the wall. Months later, after touring overseas, Orridge returned to discover house-sitters had turned the painting around and vanished, leaving rooms splattered with red paint. Spooked, Orridge sold the painting to Chris Stein of Blondie.