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Girl with Balloon (Diptych), 2005


Girl with Balloon (Diptych), 2005
Edition: 25
Acrylic and spray-paint stencil on canvas in two parts
30.5×30.5 cm (12×12 inches) each
Stenciled “BANKSY” in red spray paint on the turnover edge
Further dated and numbered /25 on the stretcher

Girl and Balloon, first realized in 2003, is without a doubt one of the most iconic images of the 21st century. Instantly recognizable, its enduring success lies within the ease with which it has been disseminated and reproduced online by a new, tech-savvy generation of art lovers. Despite this, its earliest renditions on the streets of London have been lost, and the present series of canvases from 2003 and the subsequent prints released the following year are the only concrete testimony to the work’s appeal.
Its popularity is such that in a poll commissioned in 2017 it was voted Britain’s favorite artwork beating such historical heavyweights as John Constable’s The Hay Wain and JMW Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire.
How has the work of an upstart graffiti artist from Bristol, proudly operating outside the system, managed to upstage some of the most important treasures housed in UK’s most hallowed national collection? Like many of the artist’s best works, its success lies in its stark simplicity, rendered in black and red against the white canvas, the image possesses a visual immediacy that is key to its popularity. Here, we have a stencil of the familiar little girl rendered centrally to the composition with hand outstretched reaching for the heart-shaped balloon that only moments earlier escaped her fingers. Yet, despite this immediacy there is also an enigmatic quality to the work which makes a literal reading difficult to decipher. Whether the work is concerned with freedom, release, poignancy, loss, temporality or hope depends entirely on the viewer, although what is clear is its timeless appeal.

Auction Results

Balloon Girl (Diptych) only sold three times at auction since 2007. It last sold at Christie’s London on 15 October 2021 for GBP 3,042,500 (USD 4,168,225)


Girl with Balloon (Diptych), 2005
Spray paint on canvas, in two parts
Each: 30.2 x 30.2 cm (11 7/8 x 11 7/8 inches)
Tagged ‘BANKSY’ (on the overlap)
Signed and dated ‘BANKSY 5/9/05‘ (on the stretcher)
Numbered ‘6/25’ (on the stretcher)
Christie’s London: 15 October 2021
GBP 3,042,500 / USD 4,168,225

It last sold at Christie’s London, on 12 September 2012, for GBP 58,850 (USD 94,812).
Girl and Balloon, 2005
Spray enamel on canvas, in two parts
Each 30.2 x 30.2 cm (11 7/8 x 11 7/8 inches)
Tagged “Banksy” (on the overlap)
Signed, numbered and dated “Banksy 11/12/05 11/25” (on the reverse)
Christie’s London / 12 September 2012
GBP 58,850 / USD 94,812