David Bowie Painting Found in Thrift Store Breaks Auction Record
A painting by David Bowie, put up for auction by a woman who purchased it at a Canadian thrift store for $5 CAD ($4 USD), has broken the record for highest price paid for one of the rocker’s art pieces.
The 1997 work, titled “DHead XLVI” and described as a “semi-abstract portrait,” is one of around 47 similar pieces Bowie created in the ‘90s as part of his Dead Heads (or D Heads) series. The painting sold for $108,120 Canadian dollars, more than doubling the 2016 sale of a D Head series artwork for £22,500 (approximately $39,000 CAD) in the United Kingdom. The six-digit sale price far exceeded professional estimates, which originally predicted a purchase price of between $9,000 and $12,000 CAD for the “acrylic and computer collage” creation.
“Our gallery was inundated with calls and interest for the Bowie painting throughout the duration of our Online Auction of International Art," Rob Cowley, President of Cowley Abbott Art Auctioneers, explained via statement. "It’s a phenomenon we call the Hollywood Effect, when there is a famous name attached, or when there is an extraordinary set of circumstances such as rarity or human-interest story behind the artwork."
Looking back on his decision to go public with his own artwork in 1994, Bowie said later: “I’m not sure why I made that choice, and I’m still to this day not sure if it wasn’t a mistake… Up to that point, painting for me was private, and it really was about problem solving. I’d find that if I had some creative obstacle in the music that I was working on, I would often revert to drawing it out or painting it out. Somehow the act of trying to recreate the structure of the music in paint or in drawing would produce a breakthrough.”
He added: “I find I’m bearing in mind how people respond to the art, which has produced a separation between the visual and the musical. I’m not sure that that’s a good thing. But I went into it with my eyes wide open. I expected ridicule – and I got it!”