Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Banksy artwork self-destructs moments after selling at auction for $1.8 million

Banksy's Girl With Red Balloon mysteriously shreds after its sale at Sotheby's London. Pic Sotheby's Image Banksy's Girl With Red Balloon mysteriously shreds after its sale. Pic Sotheby's
Herman Weaver | 06 October, 2018, 14:54

Immediately after the painting had been sold to a phone bidder for £1.04 million ($AUD 1.93m), part of it slid down the frame and was mysteriously shredded, according to Sotheby's.

For an artist that's known for his stunts, this could be Banksy's most ideal art world prank.

"Girl with a Balloon" (2006) was the final lot of the evening sale at Sotheby's and ended things off with an impressive final price of £953,829 (~$1,251,423), or £1,042,000 with buyer's premium (~$1,367,104). The spray paint and acrylic on canvas that was mounted on board depicted a small girl in black and white reaching out towards a red, heart-shaped balloon attached to a string.

Then, as an alarm sounded, it ran through a shredder embedded in the frame, emerging from the bottom in strips.

Previously in 2012, a different copy of the "Girl with Balloon" painting sold for between £15,000 - 25,000 GBP (approximately $19,680 - 32,800 USD) at a Bonhams auction.

"It appears we just got Banksy-ed", Alex Branczik, Sotheby's European director of contemporary art told the Art Newspaper.

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Banksy shared a photo of the moment on his Instagram account, which he simply captioned: "Going, going, gone".

"We are busy figuring out what happened", Branczik said.

"We have not experienced this situation in the past. where a painting spontaneously shredded, upon achieving a record for the artist", Branczik said.

Girl With Balloon originally appeared on a wall in Great Eastern Street, London. "We are in discussion about next steps".

Banksy, who has never disclosed his full identity, began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England, and has become one of the world's best-known artists.

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