Sotheby’s Auction House Banksy’ed

Auctioneers since 1744, with a fine tradition of marketing the world’s most cherished possessions, Sotheby’s continues to be an innovative global art business serving the most discerning clientele.

On the evening of October 5th, in a moment that caught the art world by surprise, Banksy’s Girl with Balloon self-destructed seconds after the last hammer hit the podium at Sotheby’s London Auction House. The framed work, depicting a girl reaching out toward a red, heart-shaped balloon, was one of the most iconic images associated with the anonymous and world-renowned artist.

It is now known that a shredder had been stealthily installed into the frame by the artist who later claimed he had done this in the event the painting was ever sold. The art piece had just sold for over $1,700,000 CAD when the canvas began to pass through the hidden shredder.

The stunning and widely viewed moment was perceived to be a pointed criticism of the lucrative art world by Banksy. Directors of Sotheby’s Auction House and art dealers worldwide believe that the unique stunt has only made the work more valuable.

The winning bidder on Girl with Balloon has confirmed her decision to acquire the new work that was created that evening. It has been granted a certificate by Pest Control, Banksy’s authentication body. The buyer, a European collector and long-standing client of Sotheby’s, is proceeding with the purchase at the same price as was achieved at auction. At first shocked to see the work shredded, the successful bidder soon realized that she was in possession of her own piece of art history.

“Banksy didn’t destroy an artwork in the auction, he created one. Following his surprise intervention on the night, we are pleased to confirm the sale of the artist’s newly-titled Love is in the Bin, the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction.”

Alex Branczik,
Sotheby’s Head of Contemporary Art, Europe

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