Love is in the air: Shredded Banksy fetches a record $ 25.4 million

The artwork called Love is in the Bin sold at auction for more than 1,750 percent of what it sold just three years ago.

A partially destroyed Banksy painting sold at auction Thursday at Sotheby’s in London for more than 1,750% of what it sold just three years ago. It is the most expensive work of art by the artist to sell at auction.

The play, then called Girl with Balloon, made headlines around the world in October 2018 when it immediately self-destroyed after selling at Sotheby’s for approximately £ 1 million ($ 1.2 million at the time). The artist claimed it was a “joke”, and the auction house denied any complicity in the stunt, raising many eyebrows.

The artwork was later renamed Love Is in the Bin and quickly became “a cultural phenomenon,” says Emma Baker, a specialist in contemporary art at Sotheby’s in London.

“You’ve seen it on T-shirts, protest posters, and political cartoons, and McDonalds and IKEA have used these artworks as the basis for a couple of their ads. It is in the realm of the iconic. “

In the run-up to the sale, which took place in the middle of London’s Frieze Week, Sotheby’s promoted the work to clients around the world and even vandalized the banner in front of their headquarters as a tribute.

His efforts paid off. “A lot of people came to see it,” says Baker. “There were up to 1,000 people a day since last weekend.”

The work was estimated to sell for between £ 4 million and £ 6 million pounds ($ 5.5 million to $ 8.2 million). During the sale, the bidding started at £ 2.5 million and quickly increased in increments of half a million pounds to £ 14 million, when two telephone bidders began to compete in concert for the work. After what Sotheby’s says was 10 minutes of bidding, the auctioneer, Oliver Barker, put the job at £ 16 million. Using auction house fees, the total came to £ 18.58 million ($ 25.42 million).

A strong rebound

The sale comes at a time when the Banksy market is on a strong rally. The anonymous artist’s auction record nearly doubled this year, when his oil-on-canvas image of a boy playing with a superhero nurse doll, Game Changer, sold for $ 23 million at Christie’s London in March, with proceeds benefiting the University Hospital Southampton staff and patients. .

His record had previously been set in October 2019 with his Devolved Parliament oil painting, depicting the British House of Commons populated by chimpanzees. It sold for $ 12.2 million at Sotheby’s London.

The interpretation of Love is in the Bin “says perhaps less about the market for Banksy than it does about the market for this work of art,” says Baker.

“I feel like this is one of the most ingenious artistic events and happenings of this century so far, and I think it is without a doubt Banksy’s most successful work.”

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