Rare David Bowie painting auctioned off for more than $18,000 after it was found by Ontario landfill


A rare painting by David Bowie is slated to sell for more than $18,000 at auction

A rare painting by late rocker David Bowie is slated to sell for more than $18,000 after it was purchased for $5 at a donation center near a landfill in Canada before the owner uncovered the artist’s identity.   

Painted on a 9.75 x 8 inch canvas, the red, white and blue abstract portrait is part of a series of 47 works Bowie created between 1995 and 1997 which he entitled Dead Heads (or D Head). 

It is available in an online auction by Cowley Abbott Fine Art in Toronto through June 24.

The seller, who has not been named, had no clue about the painting’s rich history when they picked it up at the Machar Mall donation center by a dump in Ontario last summer. 

Now they’re slated to make a massive profit off the find which has a value estimated between $9,000- $12,000 – and a current top bid of $18,100. 

Painted on a 9.75 x 8 inch canvas, the red, white and blue abstract portrait (pictured) is part of a series of 47 works Bowie created between 1995 and 1997 which he entitled Dead Heads

Painted on a 9.75 x 8 inch canvas, the red, white and blue abstract portrait (pictured) is part of a series of 47 works Bowie created between 1995 and 1997 which he entitled Dead Heads

Rob Cowley, (pictured) president of Cowley Abbott, describes the painting as an 'abstract self portrait'

Rob Cowley, (pictured) president of Cowley Abbott, describes the painting as an ‘abstract self portrait’

The legendary British rock star was an artist and art collector who began painting in 1976, an interest he renewed in the 1990s, the New York Times reported.   

Bowie, who was known for his avant-garde style, studied art and design as a young man and had a love of fine art throughout his lifetime. 

The Grammy-Award winning singer, who passed in 2016 at age 69 from liver cancer, was known for his iconic 1983 album Let’s Dance and 1972s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

His artwork was heavily influenced by the modernist art trends of the twentieth century and  his paintings have the stylistic influences of the German expressionists, Francis Bacon and the London School of painters, Cowley Abbott Fine Art said in a press release. 

The seller of the painting, who has chosen to not be identified, paid $5 for the portrait last summer at the Machar Mall donation center. 

Johnny Kershner, who has worked at the Machar landfill for three years, told northbaynipissing.com he could not believe the thrift shop had such a rare piece of art laying around. 

‘I saw the picture when it was here, and I didn’t think anything of it — it’s the craziest stuff that comes through here,’ he said.

The buyer was ‘astonished’ when he read the label ‘David Bowie’ and realized it was the signature of the artist inscribed on the reverse, the Canadian art gallery said.

The buyer contacted Canadian art auctioneer Cowley Abbott in November and after authenticating with a David Bowie specialist in the United Kingdom they were able to confirm that the painting was part the Dead Head series he completed in the 1990s. 

Bowie, (pictured) who was known for his avant-garde style, studied art and design as a young man and had a love of fine art throughout his lifetime

Bowie, (pictured) who was known for his avant-garde style, studied art and design as a young man and had a love of fine art throughout his lifetime

Bowie's artwork was heavily influenced by the modernist art trends of the twentieth century and his paintings have the stylistic influences of the German expressionists, Francis Bacon and the London School of painters. One of his portraits is seen at a gallery in London in 1995

Bowie’s artwork was heavily influenced by the modernist art trends of the twentieth century and his paintings have the stylistic influences of the German expressionists, Francis Bacon and the London School of painters. One of his portraits is seen at a gallery in London in 1995

The gallery also contacted Andy Peters, who has been collecting Bowie autographs since 1978 to authenticate the singers signature.  

‘When I first saw the painting, I knew what it was straightaway,’ Peters told CNN.    

Rob Cowley, president of Cowley Abbott, describes the painting as an ‘abstract self portrait,’ to CBC News.

It is not clear who the portrait is of, but Bowie often painted band members, friends and acquaintances as well as self-portraits.  

‘In this case, even the gender is difficult to discern because it doesn’t have any facial features besides the side profile,’ Cowley told CNN. ‘It’s quite a striking portrait, but it’s very difficult to say exactly who it might be.’

The figure in the painting is in side profile and has no facial features with hair coming down the side of their face. 

The figure is dressed in teal and has touches of teal in their hair with some patches darkish red hair framing their face. 

A painting from the same collection fetched $27,500 when it was sold by Christies auction in 2018.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk