The Writing on the Art Wall- Banksy Works Still in Demand

AuctionPublicity.com – Eleven artworks by the renowned artist, Banksy soared way over estimate in the Vision 21 sale at Bonhams in Knightsbridge today – 24 October 2007. The prices achieved reinforces the artist’s ongoing popularity and strength in the contemporary art market.

Bonhams specialist of the Vision 21 sale, Gareth Williams says, “Today’s results demonstrate that prices for Banksy’s work continue to go from strength to strength, and Bonhams are proud to remain at the forefront of this market. Perhaps the most incredible aspect of the Banksy phenomena is neither his meteoric rise, nor the substantial sums of money that his art now commands, but that as a self-confessed guerilla artist, he has been so wholeheartedly embraced by the very establishment he satirises. We are sure that this irony is not lost on today’s buyers.”

Auction results for Banksy works:
‘Untitled, Rat and Sword’
stencil, spray paint on canvas
Estimate: £20,000-30,000

Fetched: £64,800

In August 2004 Bansky was in the news again after designing and unveiling a six meter satirical bronze statue, protesting towards the British Legal System. The statue was unveiled to a crowd of several hundred admirers at Clerkenwell Green, London. The location was significant as it once housed the largest courtroom in the country and also because Banksy had previously been arrested there. It was modeled as a modified version of the statue of Justice from the Old Bailey and depicted the female figure in a state of undress; her up lighted robe revealing suspenders, a thong, a garter stuffed with American dollars and a blindfold.

A statement was read out by MC Dynamite on Banksy’s behalf: “It’s the most honest depiction of British justice currently on display in the capital,” Banksy said. “I hope it stays there for good.”
The three and a half ton statue was removed two days later with a crane by the council for health and safety reasons. In the short time that was stood in the square, the sword had been removed by an admirer. When Banksy later reclaimed the statue from the council, footing the bill for its removal, he was also keen to retrieve the missing sword.
The present lot was a gift to its previous owner, in thanks for his assistance with the return of the sword. Not only is it a unique work, having the inclusion of the sword in the stencil design and the inscription to the rear, it also represents both a highly personalized and humorous account of the above event.

· ‘Attack of the Badly Drawn Boy’
signed, oil on board with stencil spray paint
Provenance: Severnshed, Bristol, 2000.
This work is unique. Being traditionally associated with the stencil spray paint oeuvre, Banksy’s status as a painter has often been overlooked. This piece is important as it combines both genres.
Estimate: £20,000-30,000

Fetched: £78,000

‘Heavy Weaponry’, 2004
signed on the overlap, also numbered 12/25 to the reverse, spray paint stencil on canvas 30.5 x 30.5cm (12 x 12in).
Estimate: £20,000-30,000

Fetched: £38,000

‘Heavy Weaponry’
stencil, spray paint and oil on canvas
Estimate: £25,000-30,000

Fetched: £52,800

This work was purchased in Shoreditch in 2000. Images available for purchase were stenciled on the walls of a railway arch in Rivington Street, East London, with a corresponding reference number. Prospective buyers were invited to e-mail their orders to a hotmail account. Three months later the completed paintings were available for collection from a nearby bar and requests for payment were to be made in cash. This work was also issued with a ‘Metropolitan Police Evidence’ label with the Banksy barcode.

‘Playmate of the Month’
stencil, signature, acrylic and marker pen on wood
Estimate: £20,000-30,000

Fetched: £33,600

‘Lenin on Rollerskates (Who Put the Revolution on Ice?)’, 2003
red stencilled signature to side of canvas, inscribed ’10/25/2003/ Thanks Mate/ Banksy’ to rear, spray paint stencil on canvas, in perspex frame
40 x 40cm (15 3/4 x 15 3/4in)
Estimate: £20,000-30,000

Fetched: £48,000

Horse on Steel
spray paint and stencil on steel 45 x 24.5cm (17 11/16 x 9 5/8in).
Estimate: £5,000-8,000

Fetched: £26,400

‘Balloon Girl’, 2003
signed on the overlap, also numbered 12/25 to the reverse, spray paint stencil on canvas 40.5 x 40.5cm (15 15/16 x 15 15/16in).
Estimate: £20,000-30,000

Fetched: £57,600

‘Precision Bombing’, 2000
acrylic and stencilled spray paint on canvas
stencilled signature, numbered 3/10 and dated 2000 verso 42.5 x 47cm (16 3/4 x 18 1/2in).
Estimate £10,000-15,000

Fetched: £26,400

‘Avon and Somerset Constabulary’
stenciled, spray paint and oil on canvas
Estimate: £60,000-80,000

Fetched: £96,000

‘Di Faced Tenners’
screen print from 2004
This subversive double-sided work is composed of a series of modified £10 notes and the artist replaced the monarch’s head with that of Princess Diana’s own.
Estimate: £5,000-7,000

Fetched: £24,000

An important and extensive collection of photographs of the renowned artist, ‘Francis Bacon and his Circle’, shot by British photographer Peter Stark in the early 1970’s sold for £36,000.

The collection comprises ninety-two 35mm colour transparencies, mostly in ‘Camera Press’ slide mounts, fourteen gelatin silver prints and nine 36-exposure rolls of 35mm black and white film negatives cut-up into strips and sleeved. A manuscript letter, dated 30th November 2005, signed by the photographer, confirming his ownership of the ‘complete copyright of these shots’ as well as his ‘absolute right to transfer the copyright’ also accompanies this lot.

The photographer and poet Peter Stark (born 1943) was casually acquainted with many of the artists, writers and media personalities who formed a key part of the Soho scene in the late 1960’s. Around this time Stark met Francis Bacon, who was a fan of his poetry, and this meeting led to an opportunity to photograph the artist. The photographs in the sale were shot over a period of three weeks in the early 1970’s at the artist’s studio at Reece Mews, as well as at some of Bacon’s favourite haunts in and around Soho – The Colony Rooms, the Yorkminister Arms (affectionately known as ‘The French’) and ‘Wheelers’ fish restaurant. Also featured are many of the personalities central to Bacon’s social life, including Muriel Belcher, the owner of the Colony Rooms, who appears in several of Bacon’s portraits.

The artist later ordered five hundred prints from the collection and used two of the photographs as the basis for two self portraits, both painted in 1973. On Bacon’s death, many of these prints were found scattered on the floor of his studio.

This sale also included work by P Caulfield, J & D Chapman, P Doig, L Fontana, S Lucas, T Frost, Gilbert & George, A Gormley, D Hockney, A Micallef, J Opie, L Milroy amongst others.

Vision 21 is an innovative sale that delivers great design and diverse style and inspiration from 1945 to the present day. Conceived four 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 categories. The Vision 21 continues to attract a young fashionable crowd of both serious collectors, and those just looking to furnish a modern home.

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