Art | June 19, 2021 9:10 pm

David Bowie Painting Found At Donation Center Heads to Auction

Was this the best $4 someone ever spent?

David Bowie
David Bowie at the British Rock and Pop awards, 1981.
Monks & English/Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

David Bowie famously played Andy Warhol on screen in the film Basquiat, but his interest in visual art went far beyond just that. His collection included work by Basquiat and Marcel Duchamp, and he also spent much of his life painting — which involved several shows of his work, beginning in 1995. Now, one of his paintings is set to be sold at auction by the auction house Cowley Abbott. But the story of how the painting in question came to be found is where things get particularly interesting.

An article by Martin Kielty at Ultimate Classic Rock details the saga of 1997’s DHead XLVI. According to the article, the woman selling the painting found it at a donation site near a landfill in the vicinity of Toronto. She spent all of 5 CAD (around $4) for it. It’s currently attracting bids of around 10,000 times that much. As returns on an artistic investment go, that’s hard to beat.

The painting — technically, an “acrylic and computer collage” — was authenticated by Andy Peters, an expert in all things Bowie-related.

On the auction house’s website, they offer more details on the painting’s history. This was one of 47 paintings dubbed “Dead Heads” or “DHeads.” Cowley Abbott notes that “the sitters ranged from band members, friends and acquaintances and there were also some self-portraits. It has been suggested that, for some of these important paintings, Bowie drew inspiration from the Ziggy Stardust era.”

It’s an intriguing look into another side of Bowie’s creativity. And, one assumes, there’s also a story as to how the painting wound up where it was discovered.