Published: Sat, October 06, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Matthew Castillo

Banksy artwork mysteriously self-destructs after being bought at auction

Banksy artwork mysteriously self-destructs after being bought at auction

The legendary street artist Banksy has booby-trapped one of his most famous works to self-destruct right after it was auctioned for over £1 million, in an apparent weird prank at the Sotheby's Auction House in London on Friday.

The work, Girl With a Balloon (2006), was the final piece sold for the night at an auction in Bristol, The Art Newspaper reported.

"It appears we just got Banksy-ed", said Alex Branczik, head of contemporary European art at Sotheby's.

Pre-auction, the piece and been estimated to go for between £200,000 and £300,000.

The caption written below, imitating an auctioneer, read: "going, going, gone".

It is unclear whether Sotheby's, which could not be immediately reached for further comment on Saturday, had prior knowledge of the stunt.

"This is now part of Art History in its shredded state and we'd estimate Banksy has added at a minimum 50% to it's value, possibly as high as being worth £2m+".

Sotheby's did not release details on the buyer, but reports said the winning bid was made by telephone. "We are in discussion about next steps", they said in a statement.

For an artist that's known for his stunts, this could be Banksy's most ideal art world prank.

An employee carries Banksy's "Girl and Balloon" at Bonhams auction house in London prior to an earlier sale in 2012.

Once the bidding had come to a close on the iconic Banksy piece, the artwork started to sound an alarm and was subsequently destroyed by a shredder hidden within the frame.

Banksy first gained prominence for his stencil work on walls in the late 1990s and began holding exhibitions in the early 2000s in the U.K. and the United States.

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