Choose a language
Use Arthive in the language you prefer
Sign up
Create an account
Register to use Arthive functionality to the maximum

Record price for a Banksy painting set at Sotheby’s London

A Banksy artwork depicting MPs in the House of Commons as chimpanzees has been sold for close to £10m ($12.2m), that became a record for the artist. It went under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London after 13 minutes of bidding and outstripped the pre-auction estimate of £1.5m-£2m.
The artwork "Devolved Parliament", which is four metres wide, was first unveiled as part of the Bristol artist’s exhibition Banksy vs Bristol Museum in 2009. It shows chimpanzees on the green benches of the House of Commons, from the viewpoint of the main entrance.

After bidding that lasted some 13 minutes, the 2009 artwork from a private collection sold to loud applause for a hammer price of £8.5m, to which fees are added giving a final price of £9,879,500 ($12.2m)
Chimpanzees first appeared in his work in 2002, with his piece Laugh Now. The painting shows a row of apes wearing aprons carrying the inscription "Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge".

In 2009, Banksy said of Devolved Parliament: "You paint 100 chimpanzees and they still call you a guerrilla artist."
Banksy’s 'Devolved Parliament'.
"Record price for a Banksy painting set at auction tonight. -Banksy wrote on his Instagram feed. "Shame I didn’t still own it."

The sale price for Devolved Parliament comfortably beats the previous auction record for a Banksy, which is thought to be the US$1.8m (£1.4m) for "Keep It Spotless", which was sold at Sotheby’s in New York in 2008.

The auction was held in the same auction room where Banksy stunned the art world a year ago by activating a shredder moments after his "Girl With Balloon" sold for a little over £1m. The canvas had shredded itself in front of shocked onlookers at a Sotheby’s auction just as it was sold, becoming the freshly titled Love Is In The Bin.
The moment of self-destruction of the canvas "Girl with a balloon." Source: Instagram Banksy
This year some greeting-card company tried to "seize legal custody" of artist’s name. To protect his brand british graffiti artist Banksy has launched his own merchandise line, with items on sale for as little as £10. "A greetings cards company is contesting the trademark I hold to my art, and attempting to take custody of my name so they can sell their fake Banksy merchandise legally," he said. "I think they’re banking on the idea I won’t show up in court to defend myself."

A pop-up-shop installation, named Gross Domestic Product, in Croydon, UK, will span the windows of a former south London carpet shop and sell a range of "impractical and offensive" merchandise created by the artist.

In a statement, Banksy said the motivation behind the venture, on Church Street in Croydon, is "possibly the least poetic reason to ever make some art".

Shop-window Banksy’s Gross Domestic Product™. Source: Graffiti & Street Art News

Items being sold in the shop include a Union Jack stab-proof vest worn by the rapper Stormzy during his Glastonbury performance and a model of Frosties cereal character Tony the Tiger, re-imagined as a rug. Welcome mats made from life vests salvaged from the shores of the Mediterranean, which have been hand-stitched by women in detainment camps in Greece, are also on display.

T-shirts with the print of "Girls with a Balloon" and its "torn" version are described with the same sarcasm: "Shredded Tee — The same played-out old image, this time attacked with a knife by the artist. On-trend consumers might be aware that Vogue magazine calls ‘fringing' a hot trend this season. Shame we don’t ship until Christmas."

  • Tony the Tiger, a character used on a cereal box, is depicted as a rug
  • T-shirts with "Girl with a balloon." Source: Graffiti & Street Art News
And many more items that critique major social issues, such as forced human migration, animal welfare, fast fashion, the climate crisis and a state under surveillance…
Season's Greetings. Port Talbot.
Hammer Boy, 2013. Manhattan, New York
‘There Is Always Hope’, 2002. South Bank, London
Rage, Flower Thrower, 2003. Jerusalem
Child Soldier, 2011. Los Angeles, USA
Swing Girl, 2010. Broadway, Downtown LA,
GCHQ Government Spies Telephone Box, 2014. Cheltenham
Rat 3D Glasses, 2010. Park City, Utah
Laugh Now, 2002. Morley Street in Brighton.
The Croydon showroom will be displaying all merchandise for two weeks only and unfortunately the store will not open its doors to passerby, all sales will be via the new website only (Opening soon).
Based on materials from The Independent, Artnet. News, The Guardian, NY Post, Graffiti & Street Art News