Bowie painting found in northern Ontario sells for over $100,000

‘D Head XLVI’ was found at a donation centre near North Bay, Ont.

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A new global auction record for a David Bowie work has been set at a Toronto auction.

A rare Bowie painting, found at northern Ontario donation centre that sold for just $5, went on to fetch $108,120 at an online auction staged by Toronto fine art dealers Cowley Abbott.

The painting, called D Head XLVI (part of a series of about 45 works on canvas that Bowie titled Dead Heads or D Heads,) sold to a private collector in the U.S. for more than 10 times the low-end of the auction estimate.

The sale marks a new global auction record for a Bowie work, more than doubling the 2016 sale of a D Head series artwork for $39,000 in the U.K.

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The discovery of the Bowie painting made international headlines and set off a bidding frenzy at Cowley Abbott’s Online Auction of International Art.

Within the first hours, opening bids for D Head XLVI easily surpassed the auction estimate of $9,000-$12,000; and by the first few days already set a new record.

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Offers spiked during the final hours of the auction, drawing more almost 50 bids from across Canada and the world, including Australia.

“Our gallery was inundated with calls and interest for the Bowie painting throughout the duration of our Online Auction of International Art,” said Rob Cowley, President of Cowley Abbott, in a statement.

“It’s a phenomenon we call the Hollywood Effect, when there is a famous name attached, or when there is an extraordinary set of circumstances such as rarity or human-interest story behind the artwork.”

D Head XLVI was found at a donation centre for household goods in South River, just south of North Bay, Ont.

“Valuable art can be found in the most unexpected places, as well as in your own backyard,” says Lydia Abbott, Vice-President of Cowley Abbott, in a statement.

“We often come upon an important work of art that has been inherited or has been in a family home for many years without the owners knowing anything about the artist or value of the work.”


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