CULTURE & ARTS
11/18/2011 05:00 am ET

Painting By Fake Artist Sells For $11,000

It's not easy to make a name for yourself as an artist these days, and doubly so if you're not a real person. But there seems to have been no trouble mythical artist Nat Tate, who just scored a sweet $11,000 for the work 'Bridge Number 114'.

So who was Nat Tate? According to his biography 'Nat Tate: An American Artist 1928-1960,' he was "an essentially dignified drunk with nothing to say. Unlike most American painters, he was unverbal." Eventually poor Tate couldn't take it any longer, destroyed 99% of his works and jumped off the Staten Island Ferry. At least, that's how the story goes.

The whole biography was a wild experiment in fiction by writer William Boyd with input by David Bowie and Gore Vidal, but Tate's persona has proven enduringly popular.

An anonymous bidder really wanted Tate's original work when it went up for auction at Sotheby's, earning over double the expected amount of $5,000. Was the joke on the buyer or is the mythical Nat Tate developing a fan base of his own?

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