Painting sold for $4 at a landfill turns out to be created by David Bowie

David Bowie may be known first and foremost as a rock star, but the “Space Oddity” singer was also a painter. And one of his pieces resurfaced in the most unlikely place — a landfill, where it sold for $4.

Artnet News reports that the painting somehow found its way to the Machar Township landfill in Canada, where it was displayed on a wall after it was donated.  Luckily, the unique piece caught someone’s eye.

“The consignor arrived at the center, saw it against the wall, picked it up and liked it, and purchased it,” Rob Cowley, chairman of Cowley Abbott auction house, explained. 

The painting was later identified as one of Bowie’s works, specifically from his “Dead Heads” series that captured the essence of his friends and family through semi-abstract portraits.  It’s estimated that the five-time Grammy winner painted 40 to 50 pieces for the collection in the 1990s.

Bowie’s lost work of art has since made it onto the auction block, where it sold for a record-breaking $87,789 USD.  Prior to this sale, the most paid for a Bowie painting at auction was $31,725 in 2016, shortly after his death from cancer.

“I think a big part of the interest in the painting is the story of the acquisition,” Cowley explained. “And then there are a lot of collectors who didn’t realize that David Bowie was also a visual artist… there’s a lot excitement around the artwork.”

However, Cowley says the painting will always carry a big mystery with it, as no one will ever truly know how it ended up in a landfill donation center in the first place.

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