The True Story About A Painting By David Bowie Being Found In A Landfill

English singer David Bowie's talent wasn't limited to music. He was also a painter, but he did it privately at first. According to Daily Art Magazine, he resorted to painting whenever he came across a stumbling block when he was creating music. It was in 1995 when his work was seen by the public, as he used the painting of a self-portrait for the cover of his album titled "Outside." Thereafter, he showcased several of his paintings at a London gallery.

In Ontario, Canada, the Machar Township landfill is where citizens drop off their trash, and some items are given at the donation center. They are free to donate any amount to "purchase" some of the items that are donated by others. One summer, a woman — who wishes to remain anonymous — took home a painting and paid about $5, per Artnet News. Little did the buyer know that it was a valuable painting created by Bowie.

The painting was authenticated by an expert

Upon further inspection, the buyer noticed that Davie Bowie's signature was on the back panel of the painting followed by "97," which is assumed to be when the painting was created. She wanted to check if the artwork was authentic, so she contacted Rob Cowley, the president of Cowley Abbott Fine Art in Toronto, as reported by CBC. The group then contacted Andy Peters — an expert on Bowie's signature — to study the writing on the back of the painting. Peters validated that it was, indeed, Bowie's authentic work. How it ended up at the landfill is not known. "It's impossible to know whether it was a house clearing, or an estate situation or what have you. But we know that the painting was sold through an official David Bowie website in 2001 or 2002," Cowley said.

The painting, which is number XLVI or 46, is part of a 47-set series titled "Dead Heads." The collection consisted of portraits that Bowie painted between 1995 and 1997, per Smithsonian Magazine. The Cowley Abbot website described the painting as an "acrylic and computer collage on canvas," and it was estimated to have a value between $9,000 and $12,000 CAD (about $7,000 to $9,500 USD). The painting was sold on June 24, 2021, for $108,120 CAD or about $85,000 USD(via Cowley Abbott).