Street artist shreds $1.4mn painting

Danny Woods
October 11, 2018

Banksy, thought to be from Bristol, has never revealed his true identity but there are countless rumours about who he really is.

So it's not entirely surprising that one of his most famous paintings, Girl With Balloon, selfdestructed after selling for more than $1.86 million at a Sotheby's auction in London.

The work was one of several hundred copies of Banksy's iconic Girl with Balloon. The artist posted the moment on his Instagram with a comment reading "Going, going, gone".

And the Sotheby's head of contemporary art moaned "we've just been Banksy'ed".

In his Instagram post, Banksy that he built the secret device and embedded it into the painting's frame "a few years ago", just "in case it was ever put up for auction". It happened at Sotheby's in London, when the Banksy work was the last to be bid on, and eventually sold, for a grand total price of $1.1 million.

There is a speculation that the auctioneers were aware that a shredder was hidden in the painting.

It will go to auction on November 19 in Los Angeles, alongside other works by the mysterious street artist.

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In an idiotic footnote to the stunt, one owner of a Girl with Balloon shredded his copy of the work, valued at £(US$53,000) with a Stanley knife believing it would also appreciate in value.

Some of have even claimed to have caught Banksy on camera after he had finished his work. "We are in discussions about next steps", the auction house said in a statement.

"We are busy figuring out what this means in an auction context", Branczik told the outlet.

Another film of the auction appears to have captured the artist himself videoing the artwork being shredded. John Brandler, director of Brandler Art Galleries has described Banksy as "the ultimate publicity artist" and said the stunt was "absolutely brilliant". He called Banksy's prank "a turning point in the history of contemporary and conceptual art".

Internet sleuths located another image of the incident, showing a man with a camera phone videoing it.

"The big question is - was Sotheby's complicit", asks Anny Shaw, correspondent for the Art Newspaper, who was in the room for the sale.

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