LONDON – A sensationally self-destructing Banksy painting after selling for $1.4 million at auction three years ago was sold at Sotheby’s on Thursday for £18.6 million, or $25.4 million, a record for the artist.
The re-titled work by Banksy “Love Is in the Bin” was estimated to sell for $5.5 million to $8.2 million.
After competition from a total of nine bidders, it was purchased by a customer over the telephone at a price that was more than double Banksy’s previous auction record of $12.1 million, which was again at Sotheby’s in 2019 for his painting “Devolved Parliament”. ” was given for.
The auction was the centerpiece of Sotheby’s “Freeze Week” auction of contemporary art.
“I expected it to make £20 million,” said Acoris Andipa, a London-based dealer specializing in Banksy’s paintings and prints. “It is such a notorious work. Along with Leonardo’s ‘Salvator Mundi’, it has been the world’s most talked-about artwork of the last two or three years.”
The artwork, which debuted as a spray-painted canvas from 2006 called “Girl with a Balloon,” was the final lot of Sotheby’s’ equivalent “Freeze Week” sale in October 2018. Soon after it was bought in a telephone bid for $1.4 million, the alarm went off in the salesroom. Sotheby’s employees and onlookers at the auction were gasping as the painting slipped through its elaborate gold frame and sliced, then jammed halfway through. This was done through a remote-controlled mechanism hidden in the frame. Sotheby’s later announced that it was “Bankies-ed”.
According to his Instagram post, devised by Banksy to undermine the excesses of the art trade, the stunt led to what experts correctly predicted would become a highly prized work of performing art.
“Love Is in the Bin”, with its cropped lower half hanging below the frame, was displayed behind a protective glass screen at Sotheby’s. It was offered for sale by an unknown European collector. It was displayed for 11 months next to the revered old masters at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany in 2019-20. During that period, the Statsgallery said, it attracted 180,000 visitors, nearly twice its usual attendance.
Leading up to the sale, the artwork, which auctioneer Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s president of Europe, described as “this great eminent Banksy”, was displayed Old Master-style in a gallery illuminated by his own cemetery. Unlike that dark room. The $450.3 million “Salvator Mundi” exhibit at Christie’s in New York in 2017.
“I can’t tell you how terrified I am to bring this hammer down,” Barker said after taking the final bid of $25.4 million. He had been the auctioneer on the night of Banksy’s audacious, semi-successful stunt three years earlier.
But this time it was just an auction record that was broken.