- Quote: ‘I moved from Ecuador to Spain and then to England, leaving belongings in storage in Spain’
By Andrew Atkinson
A painting by the world’s only ‘sleep artist’ that cost $1 and was stored in Spain for two decades has been valued at up to £10,000.
The painting was bought by Santiago Taute, 39, while visiting a market in Ecuador in 2001.
Santiago put it into storage with his family in Spain when moving to the UK in 2013, before marrying British wife Delia Taute.
It remained in its box for two decades – before being shipped to the UK – showing it to Delia when they moved home in 2020.
Art enthusiast, Delia noticed it was by British ‘sleep artist’ Lee Hadwin, whom she met at an exhibition.
Welshman Lee, 46, who lives in London, has a rare condition enabling him to paint artworks – while asleep – and has made millions from his artwork.
Lee, who sold a painting to former USA President Donald Trump for £100,000 has confirmed the work is his, and valued it between £8,000 and £10,000.
The painting ‘Bolide’ was done while in Australia in 2001. Santiago said: “I liked the look of the drawing because of all of the colours and ended up purchasing it for one dollar.
“I moved from Ecuador to Spain and then to England, leaving a lot of my belongings in storage in Spain, as I was living in a small house and didn’t have the space.
“I finally got all my boxes from Spain last year when we moved into a new home. I was taking things out of the boxes and found the painting so went to show my wife.
“She recognised the signature, checked the website of the artist and he has now confirmed the drawing I bought for a dollar is one of his and worth thousands!
“We are both very happy and shocked to find this out.”
The painting was for sale for $5, but Santiago haggled it down to $1.
Delia said: “I thought it looked nice and colourful when Santiago first showed it to me, and then when I looked at it again, I realised it looked familiar.
“I spotted the signature and thought I recognised it as that of an artist I’d actually met who sleep draws. I went on his website and the signature was exactly the same.
“I’d met Lee so I contacted him and sent him a picture of the drawing, explaining we’d bought it in a market and asked him if it was his.
“Lee called me back and said that it was definitely his drawing. He was 100% certain.
“He said he did it in 2001 when he was in Australia and had no idea how it had ended up in Ecuador.”
Lee Hadwin is the only person that can only produce art whilst asleep and not whilst in a conscious state, drawing or scribbling on walls, tables, clothes and discarded newspapers, using pens, crayons, paints and coal to create his art.
Lee said: “I received a call from Delia in regards to the painting in question and I can confirm that it is one of my pieces.
“Upon close inspection it looks like an original and my old signature.
“I am seriously shocked and stunned that the piece was purchased in Ecuador, when the piece was done in Australia. How it has made it over to Ecuador? I don’t know.
“Value wise, it is an older piece and a lot of my older pieces sell for more, especially with my old signature. Prices range in excess of £20,000 upwards, to six figures.
“I would say this piece has the value of £8-10,000. I believe art is about evoking feelings. If you like a piece and it evokes a feeling, buy it.”