Experts say Girl with Balloon is now probably worth even more following a shredding stunt that created such a massive media stir.
But Paris auction house Artcurial still held its breath on Wednesday ahead of the sale of four works by artist Banksy, unsure what to expect following the enigmatic artist’s shredding of a painting just moments aft er it was sold.
No hidden shredding devices appeared to be concealed in the frames. They were on the slender side, meaning it would be difficult to hide a shredding device of the kind used in London, which Banksy concealed under a thick wooden frame.
Banksy, a British street artist whose identity is known to only a handful of friends, caused a sensation when one of his paintings began shredding itself, just after selling for $1.4 million (R20.5 million).
The sale, which also feature d other celebrated street artists such as France’s JR and US duo Faile, included three silkscreens by Banksy as well as a plastic statuette of a rat holding a paintbrush.
Arnaud Oliveux, the contemporary art specialist in charge of Wednesday’s sale, acknowledged there was more interest in this sale than there would have been pre-shredding.
The Banksy works were on show at Artcurial’s elegant auction house on the Champs-Elysees roundabout and many visitors paused to take a look.
As for the shredding of Girl With Balloon – now renamed Love Is In The Bin – Banksy admitted things didn’t go according to plan.
He posted a video on YouTube showing it was supposed to have been fully shredded and that during test runs it worked perfectly. But when the prank was finally carried out only the bottom half of the painting shredded because, he revealed, it got stuck.
The woman who bought the work for £1 042 000 – a female European collector whose identity has not been revealed – said she was stunned when the device began whirring into motion.
“I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realise that I would end up with my own piece of art history,” Sotheby’s quoted her as saying.
Alex Branczik, head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art in Europe, has hailed the self-destructing painting as “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction”.