David Bowie self-portrait auctioned for £22,500

David Bowie was known for blurring the lines between art forms.
David Bowie was known for blurring the lines between art forms.
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A RARE self-portrait by David Bowie fetched £22,500 at auction in Edinburgh today - after fans of the late rock icon raised the bidding to more than four times its estimate.

The Rebel Rebel singer, whose death from liver cancer in January plunged music fans in to mourning, painted the semi-abstract work, eerily titled DHEAD, in 1997.

DHEAD, by David Bowie, has sold for four times the estimated value.

DHEAD, by David Bowie, has sold for four times the estimated value.

Bowie initialled the work on the reverse and donated it to a fundraising exhibition called Artaid ‘98, held at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh, where it hung alongside artists including Craigie Aitchison, Ken Currie, John Bellany and Gilbert and George.

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The 26x20.5cm acrylic and computer collage was expected to fetch just £3000-5000 at Lyon & Turnbull’s Contemporary Paintings Sale.

But a clamour for the painting among the musician’s fans across the world saw the price soar to over four times the pre-sale estimate.

Charlotte Riordan, Picture Specialist at Lyon & Turnbull, said: “Though painting and art was a huge part of Bowie’s life, his work is extremely scarce to market.”

Bowie, studied art, music and design at Bromley Technical High School, in London.

Best known for songs like Jean Genie, Starman, Space Oddity and Lets Dance, his painting skills were less known amongst the general public.

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He seldom exhibited his artwork and his last solo show was in the 1990s.

His own personal collection featured Modern British artists including Damien Hirst and Scottish artist Peter Howson.

Miss Riordan added: “Few have so successfully managed to embody the word ‘artist’ as wholly or uniquely as the polymathic David Bowie.

“Best known of course as a singer/songwriter, David Bowie’s entire career was spent actively blurring the lines between the art forms of music, performance and design; the visual playing as big a part as the aural.

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“Famously modest, the extent of his skill as a painter and passion for collecting is little known amongst the general public.

“Like so many of the influential bands formed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was a product of an art school education.

“As well as practising art, he also read widely on the subject, even becoming well-regarded as a critic in the 1990s.

“His collection featured modern British artists like Ben Nicholson, Stanley Spencer, David Bomberg, Frank Auerbach, Patrick Caulfield, Peter Lanyon and Damien Hirst.”