LONDON (Reuters) – A Banksy painting, destroyed in half by a shredder hidden in its frame, was sold for £18.6 million ($25.4 million) when it was auctioned again at the same London establishment. On thursday.
Attendees were startled when the work, then titled “Girl with a Balloon”, was sucked into a crusher at the moment of the hammer strike after a bid of £1,042,000 at an auction in October 2018 at Sotheby’s auction house , In London.
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“Some people think the frame wasn’t really crushed. He was. Some people think the auction house knew, but they didn’t,” wrote the street artist, whose identity is kept a secret, on his Instagram account in 2018.
The work, now called “Love is in the Bin” (“Love is in the Dump”), sold for £18,582,000, more than three times more than estimated and a record auction for the artist.
“I can’t tell you how terrified I am to hit this hammer,” joked Sotheby’s auctioneer Oliver Barker after 10 minutes of bidding.
Sotheby’s said the work fits an illustrious anti-art history, including the anonymous submission of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain, a porcelain urinal reassembled on a pedestal in 1917, and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who photographed himself at the time he intentionally knocked over a supposed Han Dynasty urn.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kylie MacLellan)
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