John Reid, guru to Elton John, sells art collection to `simplify his life'

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The Independent Online
JOHN REID, the rock impresario who has parted company with his long-time client Sir Elton John, is to sell works of art estimated at pounds 2m from his homes in London, New York and St Tropez.

The eclectic array of 19th- century art, Old Masters, exotic furniture and sheer kitsch, to be auctioned at Christie's next month, provides a vivid insight into the flamboyant tastes of Reid and the extravagances of the rock'n'roll world - a flamboyance more than equalling that of Reid's client, Sir Elton.

Reid, who is devoting more time to theatrical and film production, said:"I want to shrink the contents of three houses into one as I cruise into my fifties and focus my attention on simpler things. I want to de-clutter my life, make it less fussy and less formal. It is with very real sadness that I say goodbye to a number of pieces in my collection that, over the years, I have grown extremely fond of. It is time to pass ownership to other collectors who, I hope, will enjoy them as much as I have."

Reid's eagerness to unclutter his life is shown by the fact that he is selling a number of the works of art at a time when the market rates them worth considerably less than the amount he paid for them.

An abstract painting, Minotaur, by the Ukrainian artist Nikolai Filatov, was bought by Reid 10 years ago for pounds 12,100. It is now valued at pounds 2,000 to pounds 3,000. A Louis XVI tulip-wood and ebony desk was bought four years ago for pounds 45,000. It is now valued at pounds 25,000 to pounds 35,000. A 17th-century neo-classical painting The Quarrel of Achilles and Agamemnon by Francesco Allegrini was also bought four years ago for pounds 25,300. It is now valued at pounds 12,000 to pounds 18,000.

Many pieces were acquired from the collections of Rudolf Nureyev and Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

Reid, 49, was Elton John's manager from the Seventies. Theirs was a highly successful, but often stormy, relationship, which sometimes erupted in physical fights. It ended earlier this year, and last month Reid was involved in a High Court case with another high- profile client, the dancer Michael Flatley over their management agreement. Reid won "a substantial sum" after suing Flatley for breach of contract. A counter claim by Flatley against Reid was also settled.

Reid, who is said to be worth more than pounds 20m, came from a working-class background in Paisley near Glasgow, and started in the music business as the UK manager for the American record label Tamla Motown. His business acumen led him in the Sixties to pick Smokey Robinson's Tears Of A Clown for a single release. Later, he acted as manager or consultant to Queen, Simple Minds, George Michael, Billy Connolly and Barry Humphries.

They could all have been regally entertained at any of Reid's three homes. There they could see a Steinway piano from the Los Angeles home of Elton John (estimated to be worth pounds 15,000 to pounds 30,000) or a pounds 25,000 18- carat gold sculpture by Elisabeth Frink called Rolling over Horse.

The works from John Reid's London home include a set of multi- coloured marble busts of the four continents, affectionately referred to by Reid as "the Village People", after the 1970s pop group.