Last summer, a thrift shopper in Ontario, Canada, was perusing the local donation center that sits near the city’s landfill. A particular painting caught their eye. The shopper purchased the painting for $4.09, according to Fox News.
Now, the same painting is up for auction — and bidding has reached over $30,000 with one week to go before the final sale, reports Fox News.
The painting? An original work by rockstar, performer and music legend David Bowie.
What is this David Bowie painting? Is it authentic?
The salvaged 1997 painting is titled “DHead XLVI,” reported Yahoo News. Between 1995 and 1997, Bowie created a series of 47 portraits which he called “Dead Heads” or “DHead.” This series likely drew inspiration from his Ziggy Stardust phase.
- Those who sat for the portraits included band members, friends, acquaintances and Bowie himself, reports Smithsonian Magazine. The identity of who sat for “DHead XLVI” is unknown.
This work is the 46th piece in the series and shows a semi-abstract, “loosely painted head surrounded by swathes of blue and burgundy,” says Smithsonian Magazine.
- The painting is not a forgery and has been verified as an authentic work by Bowie, reported Yahoo News.
Bowie studied painting in his youth and later in life exhibited his paintings, sculptures and prints professionally, said Smithsonian Magazine.
Original David Bowie painting found in dump in Northern Canada: https://t.co/FuMgIZrtCz Small portrait by the late musician was found at a donation centre outside a landfill. It's a computer & acrylic collage on canvas that was part of Bowie's D HEAD series (XLVI). #Art #Music pic.twitter.com/XcDy89mZhd— Maurie Ryan Jacobs (@jacobsjapan) June 16, 2021
Why is the painting so valuable?
After purchasing the painting, the unnamed owner contacted the Cowley Abbott auction house to verify and sell the piece. The painting is up for auction from now until June 24, according to Fox News.
- Bowie rarely sold his paintings at auction, said Fox News.
The painting was expected to sell for somewhere between $7,350 to $9,800, per Smithsonian Magazine. On the first day of bidding, the painting surpassed this amount.
- As of Thursday, the highest bid for the painting was $30,800, said Fox News.
Bowie’s work has been found in unusual places before. The earliest known recording of his singing — dated 1963 — was found in the breadbasket of a former bandmate in 2018, reported NPR.