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Banksy Originals Top Lots At Auction

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CURRENTLY BEING UPDATED
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Even though the title of this article alludes to a financial analysis of Banksy’s auction market, it is mostly a fun way to get introduced to some of the most iconic artworks the artist has created, and to enter into his artistic world. Each of these works are also referred to within our catalogue for Banksy Originals.

 

Banksy has had an established secondary market for more than 15 years, with many works of all types (originals, editions, and prints) hitting the auction block with regularity. All the major auction houses have been including Banksy’s works in their auctions for many years at this stage of the game. Banksy has been setting and subsequently breaking many auction records since 2020, and it might only be a sign of more to come given that he established a new record for himself in 2021 – crossing the $20 million threshold for the first time with his artwork dedicated to health-care workers during COVID, Game Changer.

38 artworks by Banksy sold at public auction over USD 1 million so far…

Naturally, most of these have occurred in the recent years, including 22 times in 2021 and 9 times in 2020. Said differently, 31 of the 38 times that one of Banksy’s artworks sold at public auction for more than $1 million have taken place over the past two years…

Interestingly enough, Banksy broke the $1 million threshold as early as 2008, with Keep It Spotless, a defaced Damien Hirst Painting, and again with Simple Intelligence Testing. One should also note that among those paintings, a few have been donated to various charities in order to raise funds for charitable causes.
You will find below an overview of the top 30 Banksy Originals sold at public auction. Each artwork is abundantly commented in the Banksy Catalogue section.

#1. Love Is In The Bin


GBP 18,852,000 / USD 25,457,340
Sotheby’s London, 14 October 2021

 

Undermining the establishment has always been at the heart of Banksy’s work, indeed, taking the artworld down a peg or two has particular currency in his imagery and ideology. It should therefore have come as no surprise that Banksy would mastermind perhaps the most extraordinary and elaborate feat of artistic subterfuge in recent history: the moment Girl with Balloon ‘self-destructed’ at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 5 October 2018. But of course, this wasn’t an act of destruction, it was a moment of creation, a metamorphosis that transformed Banksy’s Girl with Balloon into an entirely new work of art…


Love Is In The Bin, 2018
Spray-paint and acrylic on canvas mounted on board, framed by the artist
142x78x18 cm (60 x 30 7/8 x 7 inches)
Signed on the reverse

Hidden within the ornate gilded frame surrounding Banksy’s famous spray-painted image was a shredding mechanism that began whirring and beeping as soon as Oliver Barker hammered down the gavel on the winning GBP 1,042,000 bid: a gobsmacked, audience looked on as the canvas began to pass through the frame in neatly cut strips. By the time the work was removed from view by Sotheby’s technicians, the machinery had stopped shredding halfway through the composition; a malfunction unexpected by the artist who, on his Instagram, claimed that “it worked in rehearsals every time”.

 

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Not knowing what was to come, Sotheby’s had placed the work at the end of one of the phone banks in a position reserved for works set to achieve high prices – a spot that played right into the artist’s hands as the event was immortalized on camera. In the days and weeks that followed Banksy’s shredded canvas became a cultural phenomenon: 30,000 news stories ensued globally, and the infamous painting became the subject of memes, political cartoons, protest placards, fridge magnets and t-shirts, to name only a few imaginative uses.

#2. Game Changer


GBP 16,758,000 / USD 23,210,000
Christie’s London, 23 March 2021

 

On 6 May 2020, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a painting entitled Game Changer appeared at University Hospital Southampton. In crisp, linear detail, it showed a young boy playing with a selection of superhero dolls. This is a fine example of Banksy using his talent and platform to advance a philanthropic effort. He gifted the canvas to Southampton General Hospital, and the proceeds from the sale were used to support the wellbeing of the University Hospital’s staff and patients.

 

Game Changer, 2020
Oil on canvas, 91×91 cm (35 7/8 x 35 7/8 inches)
Signed “BANKSY” (lower right)

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In Game Changer, Batman and Spiderman lie discarded in a bin; instead, the child clutches his new idol – a new superhero, better than the ones we see on TV and in cinema. A masked, uniformed nurse soars to the rescue, her cape fluttering and arm outstretched towards the sky. The picture was accompanied by a note that read:

‘Thanks for all you’re doing.
I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.’

 

#3. Sunflowers from Petrol Station


USD 14,558,000
Christie’s New-York, 9 November 2021

 

Held for its entire life in the collection of legendary British fashion designer Sir Paul Smith, Sunflowers from Petrol Station is an icon within Banksy’s oeuvre. Witty, irreverent and subversive, it offers a wry reimagining of Vincent van Gogh’s celebrated Sunflowers, transforming the Dutch master’s radiant yellow blooms into a cluster of dried, wilted stems. 


Sunflowers from Petrol Station, 2005
Oil on canvas in artist’s frame
102.6 x 87.5 cm (40 5/8 x 34 3/8 inches)
Signed ‘Banksy’, center left
Further signed and dated ‘BANKSY OCOTBER 2005’, on the stretcher

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Acquired by Smith directly from the exhibition, it is an outstanding demonstration of Banksy’s virtuosity as a painter, and his acerbic flair as a satirist. Through the comedic pathos of withered petrol station flowers—a modern-day memento mori—the artist implicates the pollution of both art and nature at the hands of consumerism: neither, he warns, will last forever in its clutches. Against a backdrop of thickly-wrought impasto, dead petals accumulate around the base of the vase, which bears the artist’s name—in place of Van Gogh’s—in blue lettering.


#4. Love Is In the Air


USD 12,903,000
Sotheby’s New-York, 12 May 2021

 

Love is in the Air is a quintessential Banksy painting. Instantly recognizable, the image has become synonymous with the artist’s indelible graphic style, wry humor and galvanizing political commentary. Banksy’s subject adopts the archetypal pose of civic unrest, preparing to hurl a brick or bomb towards an unseen foe.

Love Is In the Air, 2005
Oil and spray-paint on canvas
90×90 cm (35 3/8 x 36 3/8 inches)

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One of the artist’s most cherished works on canvas, further distinguished by the inclusion of hand painted flowers in oil, Love is in the Air is a work that reminds us of the injustice and inequality that exists around us, and offers a simple message of hope.  It is indisputable that this bold and declarative work helped to establish Banksy’s place in art history, cementing his reputation as a pivotal and universally heard artistic voice. 

 

#5. Devolved Parliament


GBP 9,879,500 / USD 12,243,772
Sotheby’s London, 3 October 2019

Banksy’s largest known canvas (measuring more than 4 meters wide), Devolved Parliament, features chimpanzees sitting in place of the politicians in the House of Commons. 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.

 

Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP /Getty Images
Devolved Parliament, 2009
Oil on canvas in artist’s frame
250×420 cm (98 3/8 x 165 3/8 inches)

‘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.’

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Devolved Parliament was first unveiled as part of the Banksy vs Bristol Museum exhibit in 2009 and was loaned back to the Bristol Museum in March 2019, marking both the exhibit’s 10th anniversary and Britain’s original planned exit from the EU on 29 March 2019.


#6. Show Me The Monet


GBP 7,551,600 / USD 10,320,000
Sotheby’s London, 21 October 2020

Show me the Monet is one of the most iconic paintings of Banksy’s illustrious career. It is an extremely rare, entirely hand-painted canvas that helped establish Banksy’s position as the controversial and decisive social commentator that we all know and love. It was one of the masterpieces exhibited at Banksy’s landmark 2005 exhibition Crude Oils: A Gallery of Re-mixed Masterpieces, Vandalism and Vermin.

Show Me The Monet, 2005
Oil on canvas in artist’s frame
143.1×143.4 cm (56 3/8 x 56 1/2 inches)

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Banksy repurposes an iconic image in the western canon: Claude Monet’s career-defining view of the Japanese footbridge in his water garden at Giverny. With its tongue-in-cheek pun of a title, Banksy’s painstakingly observed re-painting delivers a complex dialogue that tackles prescient issues of our time, such as the environment and the capitalist landscape of our contemporary moment, not to mention the art establishment and its ongoing identity crisis. With a sumptuously rendered orange traffic cone and a thickly textured shopping trolley disrupting the romance of Monet’s iconic Impressionist masterpiece, Banksy’s version is more twenty-first century fly-tipping spot than timeless idyll. Delivered with the ironic dead-pan immediacy of a punchline, the underlying conceptual complexity at stake here belies its humor. 


#7. Forgive Us Our Trespassing


USD 8,270,000
Sotheby’s Hong-Kong, 6 October 2020

Towering at seven meters in height, Banksy’s monumental Forgive Us Our Trespassing (created in 2011) is the largest known work by the anonymous street artist. The piece is a powerfully resplendent vision – unabashedly brazen while still deeply poignant.

Forgive Us Our Trespassing, 2011
Acrylic, spray-paint and marker pens on wooden panels, in four parts
Overall 655×421 cm (257 7/8 x 165 3/4 inches)

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While the widely recognizable image of the kneeling boy, accompanied by the title Forgive Us Our Trespassing, first appeared in 2010, the present 7-meter work was created in 2011. Making the piece even more interesting is the fact that more than one hundred 6th-9th grade students at the City of Angels School in Los Angeles contributed to the work. The project was aimed to encourage children to create art – showing us yet again that Banksy’s heart is always in the right place. The students assisted in tagging the stained-glass windows, Forgive Us Our Trespassing goes to the very heart of the spirit of street art and graffiti. The imagery itself, on the other hand, is a potent and moving revelation of Banksy’s conflicted feelings about being a graffiti artist, speaking to deep preoccupations and pathos that underscore his artistic production.

 

#8. Love Is In the Air


USD 8,077,200
Sotheby’s New-York, 18 November 2021

 


Love Is In the Air, 2006
Oil and spray-paint on canvas
90×90 cm (35 3/8 x 36 3/8 inches)
Tagged on the turnover edge
Signed, dated ‘May 2006’ and numbered 13/15 (on the overlap)
Estimated: USD 4,000,000 – 6,000,000

 


#9. Trolley Hunters


USD 6,698,400
Sotheby’s New-York, 18 November 2021

 

 Featured in Barely Legal, Banksy’s seminal 2006 exhibition in Los Angeles that triggered widespread acclaim and recognition for the artist, Trolley Hunters is the perfect incarnation of Banksy’s distinctive marriage of street art, graffiti and satire. Featuring three prehistoric men in a desert, the atmosphere of Trolley Hunters is both eerie and lighthearted, its illustrative style belying the acerbic humor and depth of meaning of the painting. 

Trolley Hunters, 2006
Oil and emulsion on canvas
137 x 214 cm (53 7/8 x 84 1/4 inches)
Tagged (lower right)
Further signed and dated ‘1 August 2006’ (on the overlap)
Estimated: USD 5,000,000 – 7,000,000

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Holding various weapons, the three men pictured are poised to attack. The targets of their attack are, in typical Banksy fashion, trolleys – or shopping carts. The poignancy of the resulting work is twofold; firstly in its timeless critique of capitalism, and secondly in its unique and unexpected resonance today. The trolley, comic in its incongruity, nods to our consumer society’s predilection for, and reliance on, highly processed, branded packaged food products, and our inability to fend for ourselves. 


#10. Subject to Availability


GBP 4,582,500 / USD 6,350,000
Christie’s London, 30 June 2021

Witty, satirical and timely, Subject to Availability is an important work from Banksy’s celebrated series of vandalized oil paintings. Hijacking an 1890 painting of Mount Rainier in Seattle by the German-American artist Albert Bierstadt, Banksy inserts an asterisk next to the dormant volcano at the center of the composition, captioning it ‘*subject to availability for a limited period only’. 

 

Subject To Availability, 2009
Oil on canvas in artist’s frame
159.5 x 202.3 cm (62 3/4 x 86 3/4 inches)

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Subject to Availability neatly juxtaposes environmental destruction and the vandalization of art. The latter has been a key element of Banksy’s practice for nearly two decades, fueled by a desire to liberate creative expression from the lofty bonds of institutional reverence. Having garnered attention as a police-dodging graffiti artist after moving from Bristol to London at the turn of the millennium, he embarked upon a series of pranks that brought the spirit of his urban interventions into the halls of galleries and museums.

#11. Sale Ends Today


USD 6,060,000
Christie’s Hong-Kong, 24 May 2021

Created in 2006, Sale Ends Today plays out Banksy’s irreverent humor on an epic scale. Across a vast white canvas more than four meters wide, he uses his trademark stencil technique to depict four kneeling women, who variously pray, collapse or throw up their hands in attitudes of lament.

 

Sale Ends Today, 2006
Oil on canvas
213.4 x 426.7 cm (84×168 inches)

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Wearing voluminous robes and veils, they would be at home as mourners in an Old Masterly portrayal of the deposition of Christ. Rather than the messiah, however, the object of the women’s distress is a more secular icon: a large red sign with white block capitals reading ‘SALE ENDS TODAY.’ With this wry parody of art history’s most storied subject matter, Banksy makes a biting comment on contemporary consumerism, which, he implies, rivals the zeal of religious devotion.


#12. Girl with Balloon (Diptych)


Christie’s London, 15 October 2021
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)
Edition: 25
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
Estimated GBP 2,500,000 – 3,500,000


#13. Original Concept For Barely Legal Poster (After Demi Moore)


GBP 2,677,000 / USD 3,670,000
Sotheby’s London, 25 March 2021

 

Created in 2006 and used as the poster image for the artist’s landmark LA exhibition in September that year, Original Concept for Barely Legal Poster (After Demi Moore) is Banksy at his most outrageous. Featured on advertisements pasted around the city in the days leading up to the exhibition, this image was the perfect emblem for Banksy’s breakthrough US show: Barely Legal.

 

Original Concept for Barely Legal Poster (after Demi Moore), 2006
Spray-paint and emulsion on canvas
213 x 137.5 cm (83 7/8 x 54 inches)

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As the ultimate tongue-in-cheek symbol for his LA show, the present work on canvas takes on one of the most famous and controversial images of Hollywood celebrity: Demi Moore’s iconic 1991 Vanity Fair cover. Featuring the idiosyncratic monkey mask – a disguise associated with Banksy himself and familiar to well-known images of the notoriously anonymous artist – this mischievous and brazen parody utterly encapsulates the daring humor at the heart of the artist’s breakthrough exhibition. 


#14. Laugh Now


GBP 2,435,000 / USD 3,370,000
Sotheby’s London, 29 June 2021


A majority of
Banksy’s works available on the market have been executed on canvas. The artist is at his best when combining his scathing, jet-black humor with a material that reflects the aesthetic of urban life and the authenticity of his intentions. Outside of the Think Tank series on metal panels commissioned by the pop band Blur, examples of his signature stencils on metal are incredibly rare and highly sought after.

Laugh Now, 2006
Spray-paint on metal
129.5 x 91 cm (51 x 35 7/8 inches)
Signed and dated on the reverse

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In its raw immediacy and use of a found-industrial material as the painting’s foundation, we are reminded of the central paradoxes of Banksy’s career: at once poignant and pun-fueled, he toes the line between vandal and creator, creating works of acerbic impact that advocate for the marginalized in society.
The chimpanzee or monkey is one of the most powerful motifs in Banksy’s arsenal. With a full and detailed stencil composition articulated in a wider than usual range of spray-painted tones and on large scale also unusual for this motif, this unique painting on metal is an exceptional and quintessential example of Banksy’s work.


#15. Laugh Now Panel A


USD 3,150,000
Phillips Hong Kong, 5 June 2021

 

Rendered in his signature monochrome stenciled style, Laugh Now Panel A is immediately recognizable as one of Banksy’s most iconic motifs, featuring a forlorn monkey with slumped shoulders wearing a sandwich board that bears the foreboding pledge, “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge.” As a culturally formidable image that conveys more than it initially may suggest, the present work masterfully encapsulates Banksy’s ability to distil complex statements into a powerful means of artistic expression.

Laugh Now Panel A, 2002
Spray-paint and emulsion on dry wall, in artist’s frame
178.5 x 74 cm (70 1/4 x 29 1/8 inches)

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The present work is thus rare, not only because it was also created in the year 2002, making it one of Banksy’s first Laugh Now creations, but also because this specific iteration – Laugh Now Panel A– boasts the historical significance of having been unveiled at the artist’s first Los Angeles show (and fourth ever solo show in a formal exhibition space), which was hosted at 33 1/3 Gallery between 19 July – 18 August 2002. Titled Existencilism, the exhibition debuted works including Queen Victoria and Love is in the air, which along with his Laugh Now chimps, are now considered icons of our times.


#16. Gas Mask Boy


GBP 2,200,500 / USD 3,030,000
Phillips London, 15 April 2021


Gas Mask Boy
portrays a crouched young boy wearing a respirator mask. The screen of his respirator reflects the ethereal vision of a blooming field… This work contains some of the conceptual paradoxes Banksy has become most known and recognized for, including the dichotomy between air toxicity and landscape purity, a subject of resounding relevance in today’s escalating climate crisis. Beside the young protagonist is the spray-painted outline of a flower — perhaps the boy’s attempt at painting a meadow, as reflected on his mask.
Gas Mask Boy, 2009
Spray-paint and oil on wood
92.5 x 72 cm (36 3/8 x 28 3/8 inches)

 

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In Gas Mask Boy, the artist aims his critique at the policing of graffiti art on an elementary level, but also at the environmental damage imposed upon younger generations, which might lead them to eventually lose sight of flowering meadows and be forced into masks for sanitary protection. Particularly poignant in the present work, the gas mask has been a recurring symbol in Banksy’s iconography. Evidently a tool to disguise his likeness (Banksy has, to this day, still not been visually identified), the mask furthermore contains fringe associations that transform it into a message of subversion in itself.

#17. Mediterranean Sea View


GBP 2,235,000 / USD 2,893,578
Sotheby’s London, 28 July 2020


Comprising three found oil paintings, each traditionally framed and depicting tumultuous seascapes reminiscent of Romantic era paintings and present-day imitations,
Mediterranean Sea View juxtaposes a historic fine art genre with grim contemporaneity. Banksy reworked the original compositions by adding a slew of hand-painted life jackets and buoys – a visual amendment that evokes mass death at sea. Indeed, as inferred by the work’s title, Mediterranean Sea View alludes to the lives lost at sea during the European migrant ‘crisis’ of the 2010s.
Mediterranean Sea View, 2017
Reworked oil paintings in artist’s frames in three parts

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All proceeds went towards building a new acute stroke unit and purchasing children’s rehabilitation equipment for BASR Hospital in Bethlehem. Mediterranean Sea View was installed in the lobby of the Walled Off Hotel in the Palestinian town of BethlehemMediterranean Sea View was created for display over the rubble-filled fireplace in the colonial-styled hotel lobby. Adorning the walls amongst button-back armchairs, velvet curtains, and dark-wood paneling, this work reads as the perfect adornment for a nineteenth-century bourgeois interior.


#18. Girl with Balloon


GBP 2,072,000 / USD 2,870,000
Sotheby’s London, 29 June 2020


Girl with 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.

 

Girl with Balloon, 2003
Spray-paint on canvas
40.5×40.5 cm (16×16 inches)
Stenciled with the artist’s name, and numbered 24/25

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Instantly gettable, Banksy’s image is a perfect encapsulation of human emotion for the fast-pace of our social media age: it seditiously pokes fun at high-minded art world savoir faire and in doing so appeals to many, for whom it represents a contemporary expression of sanctity, a bright and vivid symbol of hope everlasting. Ultimately, however, Girl with Balloon is the supreme icon within Banksy’s canon of motifs: whether you are for or against him, this image utterly encapsulates the immediacy and controversy surrounding the artist’s mission.


#19. Sorry The Lifestyle You Ordered Is Currently Out Of Stock


USD 2,319,000
Sotheby’s New-York, 28 October 2020


Sorry The Lifestyle you Ordered is Currently Out of Stock
is a Damien Hirst Pharmaceutical (spot) painting which Banksy has defaced. It is the second time a Defaced Hirst appeared at auction, Keep It Spotless, featuring an iconic Banksy‘s stencil of a maid sold at auction in 2008 already for a record price.
Sorry The Lifestyle You Ordered Is Currently Out of Stock (Defaced Hirst), 2013-2014
Spray paint, emulsion and household gloss on canvas
99.1×114.3 cm (39×45 inches)
This time Banksy takes another angle using an expression he has been widely sharing all along his career, attaching it to a “lifestyle”, which is not only a criticism against consumerism, but also against the way art collectors might be purchasing artworks, not for their artistic qualities, but rather for what they mean in terms of lifestyle.


#20. Laugh Now But One Day We’ll Be In Charge


USD 2,280,000
Sotheby’s Hong-Kong, 18 June
2021

 

Laugh Now But One Day We’ll Be In Charge, 2000
Acrylic and spray-paint on canvas
61×61 cm (24×24 inches)


#21. Monkey Detonator


USD 2,190,000
Christie’s New-York, 9 November 2021

 

Monkey Detonator, 2000
Spray paint on canvas
76.2 x 76.2 cm (30 x 30 inches)
Tagged ‘Banksy’ (lower right)
Estimated USD 1,200,000 – 1,800,000


#22. Laugh Now But One Day We’ll Be In Charge


USD 2,070,000
Christie’s New-York, 11 May 2021


Laugh Now But One Day We’ll Be in Charge
contains one of the most celebrated motifs used by the enigmatic British artist known as Banksy. Rising to fame in the 1990s, the much-lauded and mischievous instigator uses biting imagery—including his iconic chimpanzees—to create political and social commentary in his signature stenciled form. The present work is a prime example of Banksy’s mixture of wry wit and biting criticism on contemporary society.

Laugh Now But One Day We’ll Be In Charge, 2002
Spray-paint and emulsion on paperboard
76×102 cm (30 x 41 1/8 inches)

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Powerful for its ability to exist in the street and gallery simultaneously, Banksy’s work consistently proves that he is inspired by the very pulse of modern life. The artist’s ability of cutting to the heart of contemporary issues for decades has made him a household name, even while his true identity remains unknown.


#23. Hummingbird


USD 2,040,000
Christie’s Hong-Kong, 21 May 2021

In Hummingbird, Banksy makes a poignant claim for the importance of graffiti—and of art at large—by invoking the vitality of the natural world. Within a battered gold frame, he depicts a section of concrete wall daubed, splashed and sprayed with paint: the central white splash is improvised into a flower with the addition of a black-sprayed stem and pair of leaves.
Hummingbird, 2015
Fiberglass, spray paint and emulsion on board in the original frame by the artist
65x55x40 cm (25 5/8 x 21 5/8 x 15 3/4 inches)

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In a masterful use of trompe l’oeil, a meticulously-painted hummingbird hovers, drinking from the flower with its long bill. The bird’s body is not contained within the picture plane, but overlays the gold frame so as to break the ‘fourth wall’ of the painting. It is a powerful image, transforming the graffitied splash into a nurturing burst of floral beauty.


#24. Monkey Poison


USD 2,000,000
Phillips New-York, 2 July 2020


Stenciled in spray paint atop an Old Master’s reproduction encased in a gilded frame,
Monkey Poison, created in 2004, exemplifies the satirical overtones of Banksy’s renowned street art transferred to the realm of “high art.” Perched atop a tree branch, Banksy’s monkey intrudes upon a countryside vignette, guzzling gasoline from a carton labeled with a flammable sign.

Monkey Poison, 2004
Oil and spray enamel on found canvas in artist’s frame
61x91cm (24 x 35 5/8 inches)

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Banksy here utilizes zoological symbolism to ridicule contemporary society through a darkly humorous lens. Bridging the disparate realms of graffiti and high art, Monkey Poison is Banksy’s own tongue-in-cheek response to the corrupt modern-day world that we inhabit, inviting both laughter and contemplation from those who encounter it. The monkey, a recurring motif for the artist since the early 2000s, which has now become one of his most iconic and extensively reproduced images, overlooks this pastoral scene with eyes wide-open, ostensibly unaware of the poison he consumes. 


#25. Keep It Spotless


  USD 1,870,000
Sotheby’s New-York, 14 February 2008


Keep It Spotless
is a Damien Hirst Pharmaceutical (spot) painting which Banksy has defaced. This visual first appeared on a wall on Chalk Farm Road, London in 2006. It portrays a woman dressed as a maid who is sweeping dirt under the cover of a brick wall.

Keep It Spotless, 2007
Household gloss and spray-paint on canvas
214×305 cm (84 1/4 x 120 1/8 inches)

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Spot paintings are among Damien Hirst’s most recognizable and popular works. In total, the artist has created 13 subseries of paintings that exist within the spots category. Of all the spot subseries, the Pharmaceutical series is the first and most prolific. So far, there are over 1000 known examples of his pharmaceutical paintings produced between 1986 and 2011.


#26. Girl with Ice Cream on Palette


GBP 1,102,750 / USD 1,511,886
Bonhams London, 24 March 2021


Girl with Ice Cream on Palette
from 2004 is a rare example of Banksy’s stenciling style on found material which is not only entirely fresh to the market but also depicts one of the most playful and memorable images from his oeuvre, which first appeared at his major breakthrough exhibition Turf War in 2003.

Girl with Ice Cream on Palette, 2004
Spray-paint and emulsion on wood
59.7 x 50 cm (23 1/2 x 19 11/16 inches)

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Not one to shy away from dark humor and pointed irony, Banksy takes a subject that evokes the fragility and innocence of childhood: a young girl resplendent in her polka-dot dress, her hair tied in a ponytail with a bow, gleefully holding an ice cream cone. That the cone contains a fizzing stick of dynamite, however, is Banksy’s dramatic punchline and typifies the flavor of his humor; a poignant reflection by the artist on the inevitable disillusionment that accompanies aging and possible hopes for the future.


#27. Vote To Love


GBP 1,155,000 / USD 1,494,758
Sotheby’s London, 11 February 2020

Executed in 2018, Vote to Love is a subversive painting from the anonymous street artist’s seditious and politically charged oeuvre. To create the work, Banksy defaced a found “Vote to Leave” placard from the UK’s 2016 Brexit campaign, led by UKIP’s then-leader, Nigel Farage.

Vote To Love, 2018
Spray-paint on UPIK placard mounted on board
117×116.5×8.5 cm (46 x 45 7/8 x 3 1/4 inches
The composition depicts a red, heart-shaped balloon, patched up with crisscrossed plasters, which has drifted in front of the placard’s slogan, altering the word “LEAVE” to “LOVE”. With its striking simplicity and raw immediacy, Vote to Love offers a message of optimism at a time of increasing divisiveness in global politics.


#28. Flower Chucker


 USD 1,492,537
Hessink’s
, 25 May 2021


Existing as part of a larger body of work commonly referred to as
Love is in the Air or Flower Thrower, the present work was executed in 2003, shortly after Banksy had produced the image’s first iteration as a large format stenciled graffiti in Jerusalem, which itself closely followed the erection of the West Bank Wall. Today, Love is in the Air is recognized as one of Banksy’s most iconic and most sought-after artworks, existing not only in the realm of fine arts but also as the graphically powerful subject of numerous commodified goods, including posters, phone covers, t-shirts and other types of merchandise all over the world.

 

Flower Chucker, 2003
Spray-paint on cardboard
56 x 54.5 cm (26 3/4 x 26 5/8 inches)
Unique from a varied series


#29. Girl with Balloon


GBP 1,042,000 / USD 1,365,482
Sotheby’s London, 5 October 2018

On 5 October 2018, a version of Balloon Girl with the artist’s frame got sold at Sotheby’s London for over £1 million. However, shortly after the gavel dropped and it was sold, an alarm sounded inside of the picture frame and the canvas passed through a shredder hidden within the frame, partially shredding the image.
Love Is In The Bin (formerly Girl with Balloon), 2006-2018
Spray-paint and acrylic on canvas, mounted on board, in artist’s frame, half-shredded
101x78x18 cm (39 3/4 x 30 3/4 x 7 inches)
The prank received wide news coverage around the world, with one newspaper stating that it was “quite possibly the biggest prank in art history.” Banksy then released a video on how the shredder was installed into the frame and the shredding of the picture, explaining that he had surreptitiously fitted the painting with the shredder a few years previously, in case it ever went up for auction. To explain his rationale for destroying his own artwork, Banksy quoted Picasso: “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”


#30. Simple Intelligence Testing


GBP 635,500 / USD 1,262,145
Sotheby’s London, 28 February 2008


Simple Intelligence Testing
, made of 5 parts painted on canvases, tells the story of a chimpanzee undergoing an intelligence testing and opening safes in order to find the prize – in this case, a hand of bananas.
Simple Intelligence Testing, 2000
Oil on canvas laid onto board, in 5 parts
Each 91.5×91.5 cm (36×36 inches)
The story ends by this especially clever chimpanzee stacking all the safes on top of each other and escaping the laboratory through the ventilation opening on the ceiling that is out of view in the other paintings.
sebastien laboureau

sebastien laboureau

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