Stephen Finer first met David Bowie while they were both visiting a commercial exhibition on Cork Street. It was a casual encounter, but one that would lead to a collaboration between the two and a number of portraits of David Bowie.
Iman and David Bowie, Diptych, 2000 (oil on canvas), Stephen Finer (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images
David Bowie was already an admirer of Finer’s work having seen a portrait the artist had done of Marlene Dietrich, while it was on loan to an exhibition called ‘The Portrait Now’ (1993–1994) at the National Portrait Gallery.
Finer’s first portrait of David Bowie was completed in 1994, and was hung in the National Portrait Gallery in 1995. The portrait was greatly admired by David Bowie himself, and has become one of the most popular portraits in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection.
Portrait of David Bowie, 1994 (oil on canvas), Stephen Finer (Contemporary Artist) / National Portrait Gallery, London, UK / Bridgeman Images
Finer then went on to paint a number of portraits of Bowie and also of his wife, the model Iman. His portrait of David Bowie and Iman (1995), featured in the NPG’s 2000 exhibition, Painting the Century: 101 Portrait Masterpieces 1900-2000.
David Bowie and Iman, 1995 (oil on canvas), Stephen Finer (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images
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Born in London in 1949, Stephen Finer studied at Ravensbourne College of Art from 1966 until 1970. He began organising his own solo shows in 1981 and has subsequently exhibited at numerous galleries, including the Anthony Reynolds Gallery (1986, 1988), the Berkeley Square Gallery (1989), and at Agnew’s (1998).