LONDON, UK: The world’s most famous street artist, Banksy, is now officially one of the world’s most expensive artists as well, as his satirical painting “Devolved Parliament” depicting British lawmakers as chimps, sold for $12.1 million at an auction on Thursday.
The Victorian-style oil on canvas, showing the debating chamber of the House of Commons packed with earnest-looking chimps, was offered at the evening auction at Sotheby’s packed salesroom just four weeks before Brexit.
Signed and dated 2009, the painting was offered by a private collector and was estimated to sell for around $1.9 to $2.5 million.
The artist’s previous auction high was set in 2008 for the “Keep It Spotless” painting, collaborative art work by Banksy and Damien Hirst, which had sold for $1.9 million at a Sotheby’s charity auction.
However, his pieces were sold privately for around $3 million in past.
After the $12.1 million sale, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art in Europe Alex Branczik said, “I have realized, he [Banksy] is a serious artist, but he has such a broad popular base. He appeals to established and new collectors.”
Acoris Andipa, an art dealer who specializes in Banksy, called the 14-foot-wide sold painting “an important piece,” calling it, “the most valuable work executed solely by Banksy to have so far appeared at auction.”
“Everyone wants a piece of it,” said James Baskerville, the head of Christie’s Banksy sale.
“His market ebbs and flows, but if he continues to create works and do stunts, the market will continue to rise,” he said.
The auction was “sad” for those who expected a Banksy stunt on the lines of the “shredding incident” that transfixed the whole world last October.
The artist, this time, relied on picturing monkey business.