Moments after being sold for $1.4 million at Sotheby’s auction house in London, this Banksy painting self-destructed.
After the gavel fell at the auction house, Banksy’s Girl with Balloon was reduced to shreds — another apparent act in the disruptive career of the anonymous British graffiti artist.
The iconic image of a girl reaching out for a red, heart-shaped balloon, sold for $1.4 million and moments later, a shredder hidden inside the “artist’s frame” started its work, according to a news release from Sotheby’s and the art “self-destructed.”
Banksy summed up the stunt with this quote on his Instagram account – “Going, going, gone…” and a posted picture showed stunned onlookers as the shredded art emerges from the bottom of the frame.
In a statement, Sotheby’s said of the prank, “We have talked with the successful purchaser who was surprised by the story. We are in discussion about next steps.”
While on the surface it appears that the winning bidder quickly took a $1.4 million loss, one art industry insider speculated that Banksy shredding the “Girl With Balloon” painting actually enhanced the work’s value.
“Given the media attention this stunt has received, the lucky buyer would see a great return on the [$1.4 million] they paid last night,” MyArtBroker’s Joey Syer told the Guardian.
“This is now part of art history in its shredded state and we’d estimate Banksy has added at a minimum 50 percent to its value, possibly as high as being worth £2m plus.”