Banksy’s balloon girl sold for record price

(London) Three years after causing a sensation by partially self-destructing, The balloon girl by British artist Banksy flew Thursday to nearly 18.6 million pounds ($ 31.5 million) at auction in London, a new record for the British artist.

Renamed Love is in the trash (Love is in the Bin), the work sold at Sotheby’s in the British capital thus far exceeds the previous record set by a Banksy.

Last March, Game Changer, a painting honoring caregivers during the coronavirus pandemic, had been sold for 16.75 million pounds ($ 28.3 million) to benefit the British public health service.

Very soon after the sale began, “a time we’re all waiting,” auctioneer Oliver Barber said, the bids swirled until they pulverized the 1.042 million pound price at which the painting had been sold to a collector. European in 2018.

Ahead of Thursday’s sale, Sotheby’s had estimated the work to be between £ 4 million and £ 6million.

Its last appearance at an auction in October 2018 had caused amazement around the world.

No sooner had the hammer sounded when a crusher hidden in the frame had torn to shreds the lower half of the canvas, which depicts a little girl releasing a red heart-shaped balloon, leaving only the balloon intact. White background.

It was “one of the most ingenious moments of artistic performance of this century”, which had “made this auction go down in history”, underlined Alex Branczik, head of modern art and contemporary at Sotheby’s Asia, in a press release Thursday evening.

Favorite of the British

With this resounding action, which had caused a real earthquake in the art world, the street artist aimed to denounce the “commodification” of art.

But since this coup, Banksy has panicked auctions, where his works are reaching records.

“During this surrealist evening three years ago, I accidentally became the privileged owner of Love is in the trash “, Recalled the buyer, quoted in the press release from Sotheby’s announcing the sale,” but now is the time to part with it “.

Even before this global notoriety, The balloon girl, which first appeared in 2002 as stenciled graffiti on a wall on London’s South Bank, had previously been named Britain’s favorite work of art.

Friday, a diptych version of The balloon girl will be auctioned, also in the British capital, this time at Christie’s.

Made in 2005, the two-part canvas is estimated at between £ 2.5 million and £ 3.5million.

The artist, who became known through a series of graffiti appearing on buildings, maintains the mystery of his identity.

In 2005, he made the graffiti The flower thrower on a wall in Jerusalem, depicting a masked protester about to throw a bouquet of flowers. In October 2013, he made the streets of New York his playground by drawing almost one work a day for a month, his fans becoming treasure hunters on his heels.

The artist also uses his graffiti bomb to show his opposition to Brexit, his support for migrants, or to warn about the climate emergency.

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