The world of Christie’s News and expert insight from the auction house
As is the version with a gold balloon that led our “Banksy: I can’t believe you morons actually buy this sh*t” sale this September and realized £395,250/$517,777. The online auction raised £1,122,750/$1,470,802 in total (including buyer’s premium). Works featuring rats and chimps are also highly sought after. There are many variations of the Placard Rats series, with different slogans. A picture of a chimpanzee bearing the words “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge,” is among the most celebrated. Original Banksy graffiti art can command high prices: by the late 2000s, the art world had caught up with his popular appeal, and many of his works had been removed from their original public settings and sold.
Today, his prints come in both unsigned and signed editions. Unsigned and signed artworks are equally legitimate—a certificate from Pest Control, Banksy’s “handling service,” is the proof of authenticity that you need. When buying in this market our specialists advise to buy from a trusted source such as a big auction house or a reputable dealer. All Banksy artworks offered at Christie’s come with Pest Control certificates. Look after your Banksy, and it will look after you. Although Banksy’s street art is weathered, most of his commercial works are issued in pristine condition—be it on paper, canvas, cardboard, or stenciled on a wooden box. Care for them as you would any other artwork: hang canvases and prints away from direct sunlight and changing humidity. Works on paper should be framed beneath UV-protective glass. It’s just as important to look after the Pest Control certificate: you will need it if you decide to sell your work.
A Christie’s exper t on… BANKSY
London-based James Baskerville, Associate Specialist in the Prints & Multiples department, reveals all about the world’s most mysterious street artist In July 2019, the anonymous graffiti artist beat Leonardo Da Vinci and Claude Monet to be crowned Britain’s favorite artist of all time, according to a poll by YouGov for Homes & Antiques magazine. Although his identity is a secret, Banksy’s stencils are some of the most recognizable works of contemporary art. He first “bombed” (sprayed) the walls of Bristol in South West England in the early 1990s, but his fame grew when he moved to London in the early 2000s. He has since left his mark on cities around the world. Alongside his street art, Banksy has been creating works for sale for more than 20 years. In the beginning, the now-much-copied artist didn’t create prints to make money and they were sold for incredibly low prices. People were buying the art on their credit cards as if it was a poster, with no awareness of its future value. Today Banksy’s most iconic images fetch the highest prices and his most sought-after editions, canvases, and sculptures are often directly inspired by his graffiti art. Girl with Balloon , for example, was originally a series of stencil murals first sprayed in London in 2002. While the red balloon is the most recognizable, there are other variations in purple, blue, and pink, although these are extremely rare.
Iconic images: The extremely rare, gold version of Girl with Balloon ( right ) that led the recent “Banksy: I can’t believe you morons actually buy this sh*t sale” at Christie’s in September 2019, and sold for £395,250/$517,777. CND ( above ), realized £25,000 ($31,183).
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