Forgotten Artist In Bowie Book Never Existed

A new book released this week though David Bowie's 21 Publishing company is causing quite a stir - not for what it is, but for what it isn't. "Nat Tate An American Artist: 1928 - 1960," by William Boyd, chronicles the artist's biographical history, weaving a tragic tale of Tate, who reportedly befriended painters Picasso and Braque, suffered from depression, burnt his own paintings, and committed suicide at 31. But the London newspaper "The Independent" took a closer look and revealed today that the story was all fiction. Nat Tate never existed.

The book is prominently featured on Bowie's own website, and excerpts have been published by several newspapers. Bowie himself read heartfelt sections from the work at a literary launch soiree in New York City last week that dealt mostly with Nat Tate's death - Tate, says the biography, met his end by jumping off the Staten Island Ferry.

The book was complete with indexes, permissions, forewords and like trappings. Endorsements

were written by famed Picasso biographer John Richardson and author Gore Vidal, who was also quoted in the book as remembering Tate as "essentially dignified, drunk with nothing to say."

"Nat Tate had a talent, for sure, an uncertain gift, but perhaps he knew in the core of his being that it did not amount to much," read one passage.

"It wasn't a hoax," publishing spokesperson Angela Martin told MTV News. "'The Independent' chose to write it up that way, but it's not a hoax, it's a fictional piece of work. Nobody was told it was real."

Excerpts from the book are available at www.bowieart.com/tate.