LONDON – Banksy’s painting that sensational self-destruction three years ago after being sold for $ 1.4million at auction was resold Thursday by Sotheby’s for £ 18.6million, or 25.4million of dollars, a record for the artist.
The work, re-titled by Banksy “Love is in the trash “, was estimated to sell for between $ 5.5 and $ 8.2 million.
After competition from a total of nine bidders, it was bought by a customer over the phone for a price that surpassed Banksy’s previous auction record of $ 23.2 million, given to Christie’s in London in March for the “Game Changer” painting, produced in tribute to the work of British hospital staff during the coronavirus pandemic. The profits were used to support the well-being of health workers and patients.
The auction was the centerpiece of Sotheby’s ‘Frieze Week’ contemporary art auction.
“I expected it to bring in £ 20million,” said Acoris Andipa, a London-based dealer specializing in Banksy’s paintings and prints. “This is such an infamous work. With Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi”, it is the most talked about work of art in the world over the past two or three years.
The artwork, which began as a spray painted canvas from 2006 titled “Girl With Balloon,” had been the last lot in Sotheby’s equivalent “Frieze Week” sale in October 2018. Immediately after being sold purchased over the phone for $ 1.4 million, an alarm went off in the auction room. Sotheby’s employees and the auction audience gasped as the painting slipped through its elaborate gold frame and shredded, then got stuck halfway through. It was carried out via a remote-controlled mechanism hidden in the frame. Sotheby’s later said it was “built by Banksy”.
Imagined by Banksy to subvert the excesses of the art trade, according to his Instagram posts, the stunt created what experts correctly predicted would become a valuable performance art piece.
“Love Is in the Bin”, with its jagged bottom half hanging down below the frame, was displayed behind a protective glass screen at Sotheby’s. It had been put up for sale by an unidentified European collector. It was on display for 11 months alongside revered Old Masters at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart in Germany in 2019-20. During this period, said the Staatsgalerie, it attracted 180,000 visitors, about double its usual attendance.
Prior to the sale, the work of art, which auctioneer Oliver Barker, President of Sotheby’s Europe, called “that great iconic Banksy”, had been on display the old-fashioned way in a gallery of its own lit by a sepulcher, much like the dark room where Christie’s exhibited the $ 450.3 million “Salvator Mundi” in New York in 2017.
“I can’t tell you how terrified I am of dropping that hammer,” Barker said after taking the final offer of $ 25.4 million. He had been auctioneer three years earlier on the night of Banksy’s daring and semi-successful move.
But this time it was just an auction record that was shredded.