World’s First Urban Art Auction at Bonhams

Bond Street on Tuesday 5 February 2008. This innovative sale will document the incredible phenomenon of urban art by exploring its transition from an underground subculture to the mainstream.

The auction will focus on a series of artists inspired by the aesthetic of the street including but not limited to Banksy, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Antony Micallef, Adam Neate, Faile, Paul Insect, Space Invader, Swoon, D*Face and Jamie Hewlett. Their work is represented in mediums that are almost exclusive to this culture, such as stencil spray painting and flyposting.

Gareth Williams, Urban Art Specialist at Bonhams says, “Urban art is art at its most accessible, available in the public arena for universal appreciation. However, by definition it is also an ephemeral art form, often disappearing as fast as it appears. By transposing their images from street wall to canvas, urban artists are now creating a permanent legacy without compromising the vitality of their art form and it is these works which are currently taking the market by storm.”

Highlights in the sale include:
Banksy ‘Laugh Now’, stencil spray paint on canvas – Estimate: £40,000 – 60,000

Banksy, ‘Kate Moss’, screenprint – Estimate: £20,000-30,000

Banksy, ‘Di-Faced Tenners’, screenprint – Estimate: £5,000-7,000
Whether it is by surreptitiously inserting his works in the world in the world’s major museums, or replacing the Queen’s head with Diana’s on his infamous £10 notes, Banksy’s guerrilla-tactic stunts know no bounds. His high profile admirers include Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Jude Law, Keanu Reeves and Dennis Hopper.

Paul Insect ,’Elvis’ from the ‘Dead Rebels Series’ oil on canvas – Estimate: £5,000-8,000
Insect’s first solo exhibition, ‘Bullion’ was cancelled this summer when Damien Hirst purchased the entire collection, for a rumoured £500,000.

Faile, ‘London 12’, stencil spray paint on wooden palette – Estimate: £3,000-5,000
This group’s works feature distinctive ‘cut and paste’ imagery, that echo the way ripped street posters reveal images from further posters layered beneath.

Keith Haring, ‘Pop VI’, screenprint – Estimate: £1,500-2,000
One of the godfather’s of street art, Haring was a graphic arts student drop-out who was drawn New York’s graffiti culture in the early 1980’s. He gained mass recognition for chalking hundreds of images on the New York subway.

Having secured international recognition by achieving exceptional prices for urban artists such as Banksy and Anthony Micallef, Bonhams is now the market leader in this field. Past results include Banksy’s ‘Space Girl and Bird’, designed as the artwork for Blur’s Think Tank album, which soared twenty times its estimate to fetch £288,000 in April 2007 – a world auction record for his work at the time.