Banksy, the famously anonymous UK street artist who loves rats and paper shredders and definitely is not in Massive Attack, is now responsible for making a presumably already-rich person even wealthier than before, thanks to the sale of a painting of apes he did that has sold for a staggering price tag of just over AUD$18 million.
Devolved Parliament, which depicts a full UK House of Commons except all the politicians are mighty apes (get it?) sold at a Sotheby’s auction in London overnight for a truly eye-watering £9,879,500, or $18,064,550.10 in the much more respectable Australian dollar.
That price tag quite easily outpaced the originally forecast reserve of around £1.5-2.0million.
Interestingly enough, the auction of Banksy’s magnificent apes took place in the same Sotheby’s auction room where he – the Big Bank Boy, the Absolute Lad – set off a remote shredder and partially destroyed his Girl With Balloon work mere moments after it sold at auction last year.
Unfortunately for Sir Banksalot, he is not the one getting the money from this new sale. The painting, which was initially part of the 2009 Banksy vs Bristol Museum installation, was put up for auction by its anonymous owner, who I imagine now to be investigating some sort of Scrooge McDuck-like money pool situation.
Banksy – El Banko, as I believe they call him in Latin America – reacted to the sale accordingly on Instagram, bemoaning the fact he didn’t still own the painting and could thus capitalise on its proceeds while reposting a quote from the noted art critic Robert Hughes about the commodification of art.
The price tag for Devolved Parliament makes it easily the most expensive Banksy piece ever sold, with the previous high-water mark being Keep It Spotless, which was sold in New York in 2008 for USD$1.8million (AUD$2.6million).