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David Bowie painting bought for $ 5 from landfill is worth $ 88,000

David Williams, CNN

A painting of rock icon David Bowie has sold for nearly $ 88,000 at an online art auction after someone picked it up for a few dollars from a donation center at a landfill in Ontario.

The portrait, titled “DHead XLVI,” is one of a series of approximately 47 works created by Bowie between 1995 and 1997, according to Rob Cowley, president of Cowley Abbott, who managed the auction.

The piece bears Bowie’s distinctive signature on the back of the 9.75 x 8 inch canvas, along with a tag that bears his name, the date 1997, and a description of the painting as “acrylic and computer collage on canvas.” . There was also a label from a London framing company which Cowley said had worked for Bowie and other famous musicians before they closed.

The painting was expected to fetch between 9,000 and 12,000 Canadian dollars (7,300 to 9,700 dollars), but it exceeded that price on the first day of the sale, eventually reaching a final sale price of over 108,000 Canadian dollars (88 000 dollars).

Ahead of the auction, Cowley told CNN that the seller, who has not been identified, paid 5 Canadian dollars (just over $ 4) for the painting last summer at a donation center in a landfill in South River, about three hours north of Toronto.

The person is not an art collector but just loved the painting, Cowley said.

“The painting itself caught their attention,” Cowley said. “They thought it was an interesting painting before they turned it over and saw the labels on the back.”

Cowley said the seller contacted them about the painting in November and they started work to authenticate the artwork.

In addition to researching online, they reached out to expert Andy Peters, who has collected Bowie’s autographs since 1978 and started authenticate his signature following the singer’s death in 2016 after suffering from cancer in an effort to fight the flood of counterfeits available for sale.

“When I first saw the painting, I knew right away what it was,” Peters told CNN in an email before the sale.

He said he remembered 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 because I knew it, but obviously the signing sealed the deal,” Peters said.

“The confusion lies in the fact that he has changed his signature so much over his 55-year career, but there are certain nuances in every autograph that forgers cannot duplicate.”

Cowley said Bowie painted friends, family and other musicians for the DHead series, and even did a few self-portraits, but he did not identify his subjects.

“In this case, even the gender is difficult to discern as it doesn’t have any facial features outside of the side profile,” Cowley said. “It’s a pretty vivid picture, but it’s very difficult to say exactly who it might be.”

In 2018, Christie’s auction house has sold another painting in the series for $ 27,500.

The-CNN-Wire
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