Incredible: David Bowie painting bought for $5 expected to fetch thousands

The Bowie painting

A rare painting by legendary musician David Bowie that was found at a Canadian rubbish tip is set to be auctioned for thousands of dollars.

The artwork purchased at the entrance to an Ontario landfill for C$5 (roughly $4; £3) is expected to draw at least C$12,000, organisers say.

Experts say the striking signature on the back of the artwork proves that it was made by Ziggy Stardust himself. The auction closes on 24 June, with bidding at C$38,100 as of Thursday.

According to the Cowley Abbott auction house, the painting was discovered by an anonymous woman at a donation centre outside the Machar municipal landfill, about 185 miles (300km) north of Toronto.

The 9.75 x 8 inch canvas had a tag showing his name, the date 1997, and a description of the painting as “acrylic and computer collage on canvas”.

“The painting itself caught their eye,” auction house president Rob Cowley told CNN.

“They thought it was an interesting painting before they turned it around and saw the labels on the back.”

The provenance of the painting, titled “DHead XLVI”, was further authenticated by Andy Peters, a Bowie autograph collector since 1978 who began offering his expertise after the singer’s 2016 death.

The reverse side of the painting
The autograph on the back helped to authenticate it

The work was part of a series of 47 canvas paintings, which Bowie entitled Dead Heads. Each work is labelled as “DHead,” with Roman numerals following.

Auctioneers say the subject of the painting may never be known, but other people that sat for the series include band mates, friends and acquaintances. The series also include some self-portraits of Bowie, an avid art collector himself.

“It’s a figure who is in side profile,” Mr Cowley told the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, describing the work as a “semi-abstract portrait”.

The face lacks distinguishing features, he said “with hair kind of coming down the side, longish hair” in a style that harkens back to the fashion of the 1960s and 70s. “The figure is dressed in a teal colour, and their hair has touches of teal as well as some dark red. And there’s kind of a light red background, almost like a crimson background, as well.”

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