David Bowie painting bought in charity shop to be sold for £23,000


The abstract painting is part of David Bowie’s 47-piece ‘Dead Heads’ series (Picture: Pen News)

Someone found a David Bowie painting at a charity shop for just £2.91 – and now it is expected to sell for at least £23,000.

The abstract portrait was part of the British icon’s 47-piece ‘Dead Heads’ series, which he painted between 1995 and 1997.

The work was sold for £2,300 in 2001 and pretty much disappeared afterwards. 

But it bizarrely ended up at a Canadian donation centre, just outside a landfill site, in a small, rural town in Ontario about three hours’ north of Toronto. 

Some lucky person picked it up and noticed Bowie’s distinctive signature – always written in a downwards direction, because the singer was left-handed, with a ‘B’ that sits higher than the rest of the letters.

The painting’s label named Bowie, but ‘given where it was found, [the buyer] was still apprehensive that it might not be authentic’. 

The new owner, who has not been named, reached out to art auctioneers, Cowley Abbott Fine Art, which authenticated the piece. 

One of the company’s senior art specialists, Rob Cowley, said: ‘The painting is in excellent condition with no issues related to the canvas or surface paint.


Close-up of David Bowie's painting hung up on a wall.  Someone found a David Bowie portrait at a charity shop just outside a landfill site in Ontario, Canada, and now it is expected to auction off for £23,000.

Auctioneers say the painting is in ‘excellent condition’ but the frame has ‘some scratches and nicks’ (Picture: Pen News)


A man putting up a David Bowie painting on a red wall. Someone found a David Bowie portrait at a charity shop just outside a landfill site in Ontario, Canada, and now it is expected to auction off for £23,000.

The 10-inch piece will sell for £23,000 unless someone puts in a higher bid (Picture: Pen News)


David Bowie's signature. Someone found a David Bowie portrait at a charity shop just outside a landfill site in Ontario, Canada, and now it is expected to auction off for £23,000.

The signature was verified because it goes downwards and has a ‘B’ that is bigger and higher than the other letters (Picture: Pen News)

‘The frame does show some scratches and nicks, however the artwork is in excellent shape.’ 

Since the Grammy winner’s death in January 2016, the value of his autograph has increased by up to 300%. 

It is no different, for this painting which already has an online bid of $38,100 Canadian dollars (£23,000). 

Auctioneers had initially made a ‘conservative’ estimation of up to $12,000 (£7,000) but the 10-inch piece is going to go for $38,100 (£23,000) unless someone raises the bid. 

Another painting from the same collection raked in a similarly high $32,000 US dollars (£22,900).

Mr Cowley said: ‘The face does not show any distinctive features, painted in whites and light pinks and blues.

‘The hair is painted in tones of teal or aquamarine and rusted red or orange.

‘The clothing of the sitter is also painted in cool blues and the background provides flashes of the same rusted reds.’

David Bowie was an avid art enthusiast who owned works by Rubens, Tintoretto, Henry Moore and Damien Hirst.

One of his self-portraits was used for the cover of his 1995 album Outside. 

People can bid on this newly discovered portrait with Cowley Abbott until June 24. 

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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