Sotheby's to sell real drawing by fake artist

October 17, 2011 - 6:53 AM

LONDON (AP) — Auctioneer Sotheby's has sold work by artists great and mediocre, famous and obscure — and now, by an artist who never existed.

The London auction house said Monday it is offering a drawing by the talented but fictional American abstract expressionist Nat Tate.

Tate is the creation of British novelist William Boyd, who wrote a fictional biography that included reproductions of the artist's drawings. It was published in 1998 complete with endorsements from David Bowie and Gore Vidal, who were in on the joke.

Tate later appeared as a character in Boyd's novel "Any Human Heart."

The work, "Bridge No. 114," has an estimate of 3,000 pounds to 5,000 pounds ($4,700 to $7,900). Proceeds from the Nov. 16 sale will go to a charity, the Artist's Benevolent Institution.