The half-shredded piece of art will return to auction on October 14 with an estimated selling price of £ 4-6million ($ 5.5-8.3million).
In 2018, a Banksy painting began to self-destruct while it was up for auction at Sotheby’s in London.
Just after the spray painted artwork of a girl holding a balloon sold for around £ 1million ($ 1.4million) an alarm went off and the artwork slowly began to build. fall through a shredder hidden inside the frame. After about halfway through, the chipper stopped or jammed.
Sotheby’s continues to insist that it was not in the “farce”, even though it has announced that the work, still half-shredded, will come up for auction on October 14 with an estimate of 4 to 6 million pounds sterling.
“Honestly, there was no involvement on our side,” explains Emma Baker, specialist in contemporary art at Sotheby’s in London. “It’s just become an iconic image now that’s so pervasive in the culture. You see it everywhere.
If the sale hits its high estimate, the picture will have appreciated by nearly 500% in nearly three years.
And while other works by Banksy have sold for more – a record $ 23 million was set in March at Christie’s with an oil painting of a child playing with a nurse doll – the painting, which was originally titled Girl with Balloon (2006) and which artist rebranded Love is in the Bin (2018) after her shredding, carries the highest presale estimate ever placed on her pieces.
“If you look at the Banksy market since the shredding incident, there has been a massive shift in the value of the work being auctioned,” says Baker. “This is the highest estimate ever given to any work by Banksy, but if you look at the actual results that Banksy has achieved, it still looks quite appealing and conservative. “
Banksy’s 18 most expensive works to auction have all happened since the shredding incident. Only one of the 18 sold in 2019, according to Artnet’s price database; the rest sold in 2020 or 2021.
“Banksy’s job market has undergone such a dramatic change,” says Baker. “It will be a real test.
An anonymous seller
The buyer of the work in 2018 was an anonymous European collector, who made headlines when she announced through the auction house that she would proceed with the sale.
After the auction, she allowed Sotheby’s to show it in an impromptu exhibition. “About 5,000 people came through our doors to see it,” says Baker. “It was pretty amazing.”
The work was then loaned to a private museum in Baden-Baden, Germany, and placed on “long-term loan” to the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart in 2019.
Baker says that immediately after the sale, technicians from Pest Control, the name of Banksy’s authentication agency, deactivated the shredder. “It doesn’t work anymore,” she said. “The mechanics are still inside but it has been completely deactivated, so it won’t happen again.”