The true story of a David Bowie painting found in a landfill


Upon further inspection, the buyer noticed Davie Bowie’s signature on the back panel of the painting, followed by “97”, which is believed to be the date the painting was created. She wanted to verify if the artwork was genuine, so she contacted Rob Cowley, the president of Cowley Abbott Fine Art in Toronto, as reported Radio Canada. The group then contacted Andy Peters – an expert on Bowie’s signature – to study the writing on the back of the board. Peters confirmed that it was indeed Bowie’s authentic work. It is not known how he ended up in the dump. “It is impossible to know if it was a house cleaning, a real estate situation or something else. But we do know that the painting was sold via an official David Bowie website in 2001 or 2002”, Cowley said.

The painting, which bears the number XLVI or 46, is part of a series of 47 series entitled “Dead Heads”. The collection consisted of portraits painted by Bowie between 1995 and 1997, by Smithsonian Magazine. Cowley Abbot’s website described the painting as an “acrylic and computer collage on canvas”, and its value was estimated to be between $9,000 and $12,000 CAD (about $7,000 to $9,500 US). The painting was sold on June 24, 2021 for CAD$108,120 or approximately US$85,000 (via Cowley Abbott).

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