Banksy’s Girl with Balloon is going back under the hammer three years after the secretive street artist shocked bidders when the painting partially shredded itself at Sotheby’s in London.
The famous work, now known as Love is in the Bin, is to go on display at the same London auction house ahead of its sale on October 14 following a tour that will take it to Hong Kong, Taipei and New York.
Sotheby’s was unaware of the stunt Banksy had in store on October 5, 2018 when, after the gavel dropped, an alarm rang out as a shredder activated in the lower portion of the Victorian-style frame, pulling the painting roughly halfway through.
Members of the audience looked on aghast and footage of the event went viral worldwide.
“The hammer went down and suddenly it was this peeping, this alarm, and it wasn’t a usual alarm for Sotheby’s, it wasn’t a sound that we were familiar with. And we were like ‘what is going on?”,”Emma Baker, head of sales at the auction house, tells Efe.
“And then we turned around and saw that the artwork had sort of (…) come through the shredder, and we were completely perplexed, didn’t know what was happening, everybody was in shock.
“People had their hands over their mouths and phones were out filming what was happening. Quickly we had the technicians come to take it off the wall. It was really dramatic, completely dramatic.”
Those present witnessed a new artwork created in front of their eyes. Sold for 1 million pounds ($A1.86 million), the work suddenly took on new value.
It took the new owner of the Banksy work a few days to get over the shock of what took place at the auction, Baker says.
But the buyer, a female art collector from Europe, went ahead with the purchase.
In a statement not long after the original auction, she said in a statement to Sotheby’s: “When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was first shocked, but gradually I began to realise that I would end up with my own piece of art history.”
The new work, verified by Banksy’s authentication body Pest Control, is expected to fetch between 4 to 6 million pounds this time around.
“I hope there are not going to be any more surprises,” Baker says.