Banksy Screenprints Resonate as Strongly as Ever

By Sotheby's
Sotheby's dedicated Banksy auction, open for bidding from 20-26 April, features a selection of prints by the renowned British street artist.

A fter nearly getting caught by the British Transport Police while trying to paint ‘LATE AGAIN’ on the side of a passenger train, street artist Banksy realised he needed to cut his painting time in half or give up.

It was then that he found the process that would become his signature style, stencilling. Marked by dark humour, satire and political commentary, his colourful multi-layered stencilled works appear unexpectedly in every corner of the world. Stunts like the shredding of Girl with Balloon during October 2018's Contemporary Evening Sale, the installation of his Mona Lisa in the Louvre in 2004, and his impromptu stall in 2013 in Central Park have heightened his profile amongst collectors across all media.

This upcoming sale offers first-time and established collectors the chance to acquire works by the artist at a wide range of price-points.

"I like to think I have the guts to stand up anonymously in a western democracy and call for things no one else believes in – like peace and justice and freedom"
- Banksy

Girl With Balloon, now one of Britain’s favourite artworks, first appeared as a mural on Waterloo Bridge in 2002 and has subsequently emerged in several other locations. On the wall, it was set in deliberately dull surroundings to reinforce its meaning, and has since become an icon of global street art. Banksy went on to create sought-after screenprints after his famous mural, of which the 88 artist’s proofs in various colour combinations are the most coveted. For instance, Lot 5, a purple Girl with Balloon artist's proof, with an estimate of £400,000 – 600,000 - is an especially emotive example of this subject, which illustrates hope and desire in contemporary life.

From Radar Rat to Thrower (Grey), these clever, satirical prints offers the creative critique of consumerism or authority for which Banksy has become most known. In the mysterious artist’s own words, ‘Nobody ever listened to me until they didn't know who I was.’ (Banksy, Wall and Piece, p. 13). Well, now we are all listening.

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