David Bowie painting bought for $4 sold at auction for nearly $90,000

The sale price blew past auction house Cowley Abbott's estimated $7,000 to $10,000 valuation of the work

A handout photo released on June 15, 2021, courtesy of the auction house Cowley Abbott shows Canadian Art Specialist Rob Cowley looking at a painting by British pop icon David Bowie in Toronto, Canada. A painting by British pop icon David Bowie recently discovered at a Canadian store that resells donated goods had frantic bidders lining up for a chance to own it June 15, 2021. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO /Cowley Abbott " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
 / AFP / Cowley Abbott / Handout / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO /Cowley Abbott " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

A painting by British pop star David Bowie recently discovered and purchased for about $4 at a Canadian store that resells donated goods, has been sold at auction in Toronto for nearly $90,000 (C$108,120), the auction house said Friday.

The sale price blew past auction house Cowley Abbot's estimated $7,000 to $10,000 valuation of the diminutive artwork, which went to an American collector.

Auctioneer Rob Cowley said a dozen bidders vied for the computer and acrylic collage on canvas that is part of the so-called D Head series of portraits of the Ziggy Stardust rocker himself, his friends, and others that he painted between 1995 and 1997.

The 24 by 20 centimetre painting of a pale figure dressed in teal clothes, with teal and red hair on a crimson background, was originally sold through a website around 2001.

It somehow found itself two decades later at a donations store in South River, Ontario – 300 kilometres north of Toronto. There, an anonymous buyer paid $4 (C$5) for it.

"We were very excited to discover that the artwork was original and authentic," Cowley had told AFP at the start of the two-week online auction. Bowie's signed initials on the back, he said, were authenticated by a Bowie autographs expert.

The seller is "delighted and shocked" that the painting fetched such a high price, Cowley said on Friday.

Bowie attended art school and collected hundreds of artworks during his lifetime that were sold off for tens of millions of dollars after his death. But his own artworks, according to Cowley, rarely go on sale.

Starting with Space Oddity in 1969, Bowie scored hit after hit over more than four decades, ranging from The Jean Genie and Heroes in the 1970s to Let's Dance and Modern Love in the 1980s to more recent hits such as 2013's wistful Where Are We Now?.

Two days after the release of his 25th studio album, Blackstar, on his 69th birthday, Bowie died of cancer on January 10, 2016.

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