David Bowie receives the Diamond Dogs artwork

David Bowie collected the artwork for Diamond Dogs on 7 March 1974.

It had been painted by Belgian artist Guy Peellaert to Bowie’s specification. Peellaert was shortly to publish the acclaimed book Rock Dreams, which launched at a one-day exhibition the following day at the Rainbow Room, above the Biba department store in London.

Guy Peellaert presents the Diamond Dogs artwork to David Bowie, 7 March 1974

Bowie had discovered Peellaert through Mick Jagger; the artist was designing the sleeve for the Rolling Stones’ forthcoming album It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll. Jagger mentioned this to Bowie, who moved quickly to secure the artist for his own release.

I’ve caused a lot of discontent because I’ve expressed my admiration for other artists by saying, ‘yes, I’ll use that,’ or, ‘Yes, I took this from him and this from her.’ Mick Jagger, for example, is scared to walk into the same room as me even thinking any new idea. He knows I’ll snatch it…

Mick was silly. I mean, he should never shown me anything new. I went over to his house and he had all these Guy Peellaert pictures around and said, “What do you think of this guy?” I told him I thought he was incredible. So I immediately phoned him up. Mick’s learned now, as I’ve said. He will never do that again. You’ve got to be a bastard in this business.

David Bowie
Playboy, September 1976

Bowie had a breakfast meeting with Peellaert on 30 January 1974, and invited him to attend a photoshoot later that day with Terry O’Neill. Bowie already had the cover concept for Diamond Dogs in mind, which was to feature him as half-man, half-canine, and had sketched out some ideas.

During the O’Neill shoot, he was photographed adopting a similar pose to that in a photograph of the singer, dancer and entertainer Josephine Baker, taken in Paris in 1926.

Josephine Baker, 1926

In addition to the cover artwork, Peellaert painted an unused image for the gatefold cover.

David tricked me into doing the cover artwork. It was only when we were at the session that he finally asked me if I would do a painting for him. The idea was so interesting I couldn’t refuse.
Guy Peellaert, 2000
Last updated: 17 May 2023
David Bowie sees the Monty Python's Flying Circus stage show
David Bowie attends Guy Peellaert's Rock Dreams exhibition
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