Auction World Records for Banksy at Bonhams

A spray paint on steel titled ‘Space Girl and Bird’ by the elusive artist Banksy, soared twenty times its estimate to create a new auction world record of £288,000 at Bonhams today (25 April 2007). The previous auction record for Banksy’s work – ‘Bombing Middle England’ sold at Sothebys for £102,000 earlier this year. After intense bidding in the saleroom room and nine telephone bidders, the final bid was relayed on the phone to the auctioneer of the Vision 21 sale, Pippa Stockdale. The work sold to a US buyer. This work was part of a series of designs commissioned by pop band, Blur for the cover of their Think Tank album and featured on the cover of the Blur’s 5 track CD issued by the Observer Newspaper. A spray paint on steel work titled ‘Think Tank’ from the same series of Blurs Think Tank designs fetched £90,000 – 3 times its estimate.

A bidding war broke out at the start of the sale for an oil and spray paint on canvas titled ‘Self Portrait’ by Banksy. The price rose to five times its estimate to fetch £198,000 after six telephone bidders battled it out. This broke the auction record but ‘Space Girl and Bird’ far exceeded this auction record to break Bonhams’ own record. The unframed work (122 x 122 cms), was purchased at Severnshed Exhibition in Bristol in 2000.

A spray paint on sheet metal titled ‘Untitled, TV Girl’ fetched £38,400 – 3 times its estimate. The work was commissioned for the band’s appearance on the cover of the launch issue of Observer Music Monthly magazine, whilst they were headlining at the Leeds Festival. The Press shoot was threatened two days before when Banksy was arrested in Berlin for spraying a building, and on his eventual arrival, further complicated, as the festivals rural setting provided no walls for the artist to paint on. A neighbouring farmer was happy to grant permission for the artist to work on his property and the present lot was one of three works produced. It was painted on the door of the duck shed, which was recently renovated with the owners consigning it for sale.

Bonhams , Gareth Williams, commented on the Vision 21 sale, “We are delighted with today’s result. The art market for contemporary cutting edge art is booming and Banksy’s work has become part of this culture.”

Vision 21 is the innovative sale that delivers great design, diverse style and inspiration dating from 1945 to the present day. Conceived 4 years ago, Vision 21 encompasses Post War Paintings, Prints, Photographs, Sculpture and Modern Design. Bonhams in Knightsbridge has a long-held reputation for innovative ideas and, over the years, has introduced many new areas of collecting – such as Contemporary Ceramics and Rock and Pop Memorabilia, which have challenged traditional auction categories.