A painting by rock icon David Bowie is expected to sell for thousands of dollars in an online art auction after someone picked it up for a few bucks at a charity center in an Ontario landfill.
The piece features Bowie’s distinctive signature on the back of a 9.75 x 8-inch canvas, as well as a tag containing his name, the date 1997, and a description of the painting as “Acrylic and Computer Collage on Canvas”. A London-based framing company also had a label that Cowley said had worked for Bowie and other famous musicians before going out of business.
David Bowie’s signature and an identification label can be seen on the back of the painting. Credits: from Cowley Abbott
Cowley told CNN that the seller, who has not been identified, paid $5 Canadian (about $4.10 USD) last summer for the painting at a charity center in a landfill in the South River, north of Toronto. It’s about three hours.
The man is not an art collector and loves painting, Cowley said.
“The painting caught his eye,” Cowley said. “They thought it was an interesting painting before they turned it around and saw the label on the back.”
Cowley said the seller contacted him about the painting in November, and he began working to certify the work.
“When I first saw the painting, I knew straight out what it was,” Peters told CNN in an email.
He said he remembers it being sold on a now-defunct Bowie art website in the early 2000s.
“I didn’t need to see the autograph on the back as I knew, but apparently the signing sealed the deal,” Peters said.
“The confusion lies in why he changed his signature so much during his 55-year career, but every autograph has some nuance that the counterfeiters cannot repeat.”
Cowley said that Bowie portrayed friends, family, and other musicians for the Dehead series, and did some self-portraits, but did not identify his subjects.
“In this case, even gender is difficult to discern because it has no facial features other than a side profile,” Cowley said. “It’s quite a fascinating picture, but it’s very difficult to say who it might be.”
The painting was expected to fetch an estimated $9,000 to $12,000 CSD ($7,381 to $9,841 USD), but it surpassed that price on the first day of sale. The auction will end on June 24.