Tag Archives: Sothebys

Smashing record of £9.8m for Banksy Devolved Parliament at Sotheby’s London

Banksy’s painting depicting chimpanzees sitting in parliament has sold for more than £9million at auction, breaking the record price for a work of the elusive British artist.

‘Devolved parliament’, in which chimpanzees replace politician in the House of Commons, measures 4 meters long, making it Banksy’s largest known canvas. Despite being painted in 2009, many commentators have drawn comparisons to current-day politics, and the chaos witnessed in the House of Commons over Brexit.

It was first unveiled as part of the Banksy versus Bristol exhibition in 2009, and was lent to the Bristol Museum earlier this year, marking both the exhibition’s 10th anniversary and Britain’s original planned exit from the EU on 29 March. At the time, Banksy wrote ‘I made this 10 years ago. Bristol museum have just put it back on display to mark Brexit day. Laugh now, but one day no one will be in charge.’

‘Devolved Parliament’ surpassed its estimated price tag of £1.5m to £2m, with the auctioneer declaring ‘history is being made’ at one point during the sale that was being streamed live. After bidding that lasted 13 minutes, the2009 artwork from a private collection sold to loud applause for a hammer price of £8.5m, giving a final price of £9,879,500 ($12.2m) with added fees.

‘Record price for a Banksy painting set at auction tonight. Shame I didn’t own it.’ Banksy wrote on his instagram feed. He added a quote by critic Robert Hugues about the value of artworks: ‘ The price of a work of art is now part of its function, its new job is to sit on a wall and get more expensive. Instead of being the common property of humankind the way a book is, art becomes the particular property of someone who can afford it.’

Before Thursday ‘s sale, the auction record for Banksy work was £1.4m for ‘Keep it spotless’ which sold at Sotheby’s in New York in 2008. It also comes a year after another Banksy canvas, ‘Girl with Balloon’, shredded itself in front of shocked onlookers at Sotheby’s auction just as it was sold.

Watch the live stream of the bidding here

 

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London: Banksy self destructs live at Sotheby’s

With the crazy art week and all the collectors gathered in London for the Frieze Art Fair and plethora of glamourous art events, a series of artworks by elusive artist Banksy were presented at prestigious auction house Sotheby’s, including his iconic Girl with Balloon for the evening auction of 5 October 2018.

Girl with a Balloon (2006) was the final lot of the night, and just as the canvas hammered at £953,829 ( totally 1,042,000 GBP after taxes) — exactly the same figure as the artist’s previous auction record, achieved in 2008 — an alarm was triggered inside the work of art. Onlookers turned just in time to see the canvas slip through its faux-gilt frame and be shredded into pieces.

 

Pics courtesy of Sotheby’s

“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” said Alex Branczik, the auction house’s head of contemporary art, Europe, immediately after the sale. “He is arguably the greatest British street artist, and tonight we saw a little piece of Banksy genius,” he said, adding that he was “not in on the ruse”, although it is not clear whether other members of staff were. Some commented on the unusually thick frame, which could have easily concealed a shredding mechanism.

After a man dressed in black sporting sunglasses and a hat was seen scuffling with security guards near the entrance to Sotheby’s shortly after the incident, speculation mounted that the elusive artist had himself pressed the button that destroyed the work. According to the provenance, Girl with a Balloon was acquired directly from the artist in 2006.

“We are busy figuring out what this means in an auction context,” Branczik said. “The shredding is now part of the integral art work. We have not experienced a situation where a painting has spontaneously shredded, upon achieving a record for the artist.”
One potential outcome, according to a spokeswoman, is that the destroyed painting could be preserved as a document of the guerrilla tactic. “You could argue that the work is now more valuable,” Branczik said. “It’s certainly the first piece to be spontaneously shredded as an auction ends.”

On his social media account Banksy captured the moment with a caption ‘Going, Going, Gone…’

London: Charming Baker ‘Sweet Nothing’ @ S|2

Charming Baker - Sweet Nothing

Sotheby’s Contemporary art gallery in London. S|2, is currently showing an exhibition of new works by Charming Baker (covered) entitled ‘Sweet Nothing’, featuring canvasses and a series of studies on paper, and large scale drawings.

Known to purposefully damage his work by drilling, cutting and even shooting it, Baker intentionally puts into question the preciousness of art and the definition of its beauty, adding to the emotive charge of the work he produces.

Working towards his new exhibition Sweet Nothing, Charming Baker has described his overriding influences as “…Schrödinger’s cat, Pavlov’s dog, bitter nostalgia, sex, joy, folly, loss, Don Quixote, tended gardens, gypsum foundations, concrete ideals, loose morals, nature, nurture, sweet nothing…”

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Charming Baker - Sweet Nothing

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Charming Baker
Sweet Nothing @ S|2
Until 29 May 2016
31 St. George Street
London W1S 2FJ

London: Sotheby’s Bear Witness Auction

Sotheby's - Bear Witness Auction

For their upcoming auction ‘Bear Witness‘, Sotheby’s has been turned into a giant party house inside out. The facade is ornated by a giant bear neon sign, and even the wallpaper and walls have been redecorated with bear patterns.  Sothebys wanted to recreate the house of an eccentric collector who gathered one of the most extraordinary collections to have ever been assembled, and acquired over decades since 1976.

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Bear Witness features a wonderland of astonishing art and curious artefacts with major works by the pioneers of post-war and contemporary art alongside countless artefacts, curiosities and objets d’art drawn from across the globe. From Warhol, Haring, Koons, YBAs like Hirst, Chapman Brothers to Renaissance era marble skulls, Art Deco sculptures and 19th-century theatrical props – from the classical to the kitsch – it is a collection with no parallel or precedent.

The collection is unified by two recurring motifs – the bear, symbol of power, strengh and life, and the skull, a reminder of our own mortality, a memento mori.

Three sales will take place over three consecutive days, culminating with the first, and most probably only, dedicated “Bears & Skulls” auction on 12 March. The sheer breadth and diversity of the works on offer is reflected in their estimates, which range from as little as £20 to in excess of £2,000,000.

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Sothebys – Bear Witness auction
10 – 12 March 2015
New Bond Street
London

London: Duane Hanson – Reality Check

Duane Hanson - Reality Check

American sculptor Duane Hanson is currenly on view at Sotheby’s S|2 Gallery. The mini retrospective ‘Reality Check‘ features a selection of his most important lifesize hyper-real sculptural portraits of middle class Americans, from a Man on mower, a High School Student, a Bodybuilder, a Bus Stop Lady and a Baton Twirler.

During his career he only produced around 180 unique works, many of which are held in major museum collections around the world, making “Reality Check” a rare opportunity to survey Hanson’s work.
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Duane Hanson – Reality Check
Until 7 November
S|2 Gallery

31 St. George Street
London