Painting Sells for $1.4 Million at Auction, Then Artist Shreds It In Front of Everyone


Anonymous street artist Banksy made world art history on Oct. 5 when he masterfully executed the self-destruction of one of his most iconic pieces, “Girl with Red Balloon,” right after it sold for $1.4 million at auction.

The piece was sold at Sotheby’s during a contemporary art auction in London.

The work, displayed in a gold frame constructed by Banksy, sold for £1,042,000 British pounds.

Immediately after the auction for the piece ended, the artwork suddenly passed through a paper shredder hidden inside the frame, coming out in strips of paper.

“The unexpected incident became instant art world history and certainly marks the first time in auction history that a work of art automatically shredded itself after coming under the hammer,” Sotheby’s wrote in a statement.

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Going, going, gone…

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” said Alex Branczik, Senior Director and Head of Contemporary Art, Europe London.

The artist has since loaded a video to his Instagram account which explained how his prank began years ago, when he constructed the paper shredder into the frame — just waiting for the perfect occasion.


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. “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge” – Picasso

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

“The urge to destroy is also a creative urge,” Banksy captioned the video, quoting Picasso.

While it’s unverified exactly how the timing of the self-destruction played out, its speculated that the paper shredding mechanism was activated by a remote device.

The auction house is trying to sort out what will happen next, since the whole scenario is an unprecedented, very Banksy antic that has left the buyer without an intact piece of artwork.

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“We have not experienced this situation in the past where a painting spontaneously shredded, upon achieving a record for the artist,” Branczik said.

“We are busily figuring out what this means in an auction context.”

Banksy, a graffiti street artist who rose to fame with several graffiti works throughout England, remains anonymous.

Banksy’s latest stunt could be his most famous to date.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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