Discarded David Bowie painting sets auction record

A rare painting by the legendary musician, David Bowie, found at a thrift store and initially bought for just a few dollars, is now selling for tens of thousands.

An exceptional artist, besides influencing generations of musicians, he created his own fashion aesthetic, acted — and painted, reports DW

Between 1995 and 1997, the German paper says, he created a series of 47 paintings, which he called Dead Heads or DHeads. Portraying band members, friends, acquaintances and himself, each piece included a non-sequential Roman numeral. The series was most likely inspired by his Ziggy Stardust phase.

And now, DHead XLVI sold for a handsome price.

An anonymous buyer found the vibrant red-and-blue acrylic portrait painted in neo-expressionist style among the various household items and paid just CDN$5 ($4/€3), and was astonished to discover Bowie’s signature on the back, signed in 1997.

The buyer then contacted the Canadian auction house Cowley Abbott, who had specialists to confirm the painting’s authenticity. “We were very excited when we discovered that the artwork was original and genuine,” auctioneer Rob Cowley told the AFP news agency. 

“We are fans of Bowie’s work and are delighted to bring a piece of his art to the market.” This DHead painting is said to have been sold through Bowie’s official website in 2001 or 2002.

Though the work was originally estimated to sell for between CDN$9,000-$12,000, bidding quickly surpassed this estimate on the very first day of the auction itself.

The auction, which closed on June 24, set a global record for a Bowie artwork, reaching CDN$108,120 ($87,000, €73,500). The previous highest price for a Bowie work was $27,500 at a Christie’s auction in 2018.

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