Banksy painting self-shreds after selling at auction for $1.4 million

Tabitha Dunn
October 11, 2018

A work by the elusive street artist self-destructed in front of startled auction-goers on Friday, moments after being sold for 1.04 million pounds ($1.4 million). 'Girl With Balloon, ' which depicts a child reaching upward toward a heart-shaped balloon, was first stenciled on a wall in East London.

"It appears we just got Banksy-ed", said Alex Branczik, Sotheby's head of contemporary art for Europe, in a press release.

Banksy, that ghostly, creative, and amazingly talented graffiti artist has done it again.

The auction record for a living male artist is US$58.4 million for a Jeff Koons sculpture.

Whether the Banksy painting's final bidder is expected to pay "as is" for the painting is unclear.

The anonymous street artist is known for his satirical street art - characterised by its dark humour and political activism.

The owner of a mint copy of the now infamous Banksy print Girl with Balloon, reportedly worth £40,000, jumped the gun in an attempt to further increase its value - but only succeeded in making their print worthless.

Banksy later posted a video on Instagram explaining that a few years ago he installed a shredder into the frame of the painting.

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However, it will perhaps now be worth even more now, going down in history as one of the art work's greatest ever pranks.

The Girl with the Red Balloon is one of Banksy's most famous works, acclaimed as one his "most beautiful".

Banksy - whose previous stunts include Dismaland, the "family theme park unsuitable for children" in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset - has refused to reveal his identity. "I think the auction house knew it was going to happen".

AUCTION HOUSE: Sotheby's in London auctioned the artwork shredded by Banksy recently.

Banksy works including Slave Labour are due to go under the hammer and auctioneers have promised no items will "shred or explode".

The post, and reports of a man dressed in black sunglasses and a hat scuffling with security guards near the entrance to Sotheby's shortly after the incident, led to speculation the artist was present to trigger it.

"The "shredded" work is, in fact, still in one piece, ready to be exhibited in a gallery or sold at another auction", Nanay wrote.

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