Banksy, Girl With Balloon, 2006. Sold for $1.4 Million.
Contemporary Art

Sotheby's Gets Banksy'ed at Contemporary Art Auction in London

In a moment that caught the art world by surprise, Banksy’s Girl with Balloon self-destructed just as the final hammer signaled the end of an evening of auctions in London. The work sold for £1,042,000 ($1.4 million), tying the artist’s record in pounds at auction previously achieved in 2008.

Banksy's Girl with Red Balloon mysteriously shreds following its sale at Sotheby's London. Image Courtesy of Casterline Goodman Gallery .

The framed work, spray paint and acrylic on canvas, mounted on board depicted a girl reaching out toward a bright red, heart shaped balloon – one of Banksy’s most iconic images – began to pass through a shredder hidden in the frame.

Banksy, Girl with Red Balloon, 2006. Sold for £1,042,000 ($1.4 Million)

“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” said Alex Branczik, Senior Director and Head of Contemporary Art, Europe London. The unexpected incident became instant art world history and certainly marks the first time in auction history that a work of art automatically shredded itself after coming under the hammer. Banksy posted a short video on his Instagram that appears to show him building a shredder into the frame.

Led by Jenny Saville's monumental work Propped, which established a new auction record for a living female artist, the evening of Contemporary Art auctions brought a combined total of £68.7 million. The 25 artworks offered from the collection of the late David Teiger, the visionary collector, patron and museum trustee, were 100% sold for an overall total of £35.9 million.

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