A buyer who purchased a painting by provocative street artist Banksy for $1.4 million, only to have it shred itself moments later, will keep the piece of artwork, according to auction house Sotheby’s.
The bottom half of the canvas “Girl With Balloon” — one of Banksy’s most famous works — started descending through a shredder hidden inside the painting’s frame right after the hammer fell at auction on Oct. 5 in London, as stunned art collectors looked on.
Sotheby’s announced on Thursday that the purchaser had decided to keep the altered artwork.
“The buyer, a female European collector and a long-standing client of Sotheby’s, is proceeding with the purchase at the same price as was achieved in the room on the night,” it said.
The 1,042,000-pound, or nearly $1.4 million, bid matched the all-time record for Banksy, a mysterious artist known for biting political graffiti whose true identity has not been made public.
The prank appeared to have been his doing: Later, he shared a video on his Instagram account explaining that he had put the shredder inside the frame years ago, with a caption that read, “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge,” a quote he attributed to Picasso but was actually said by Mikhail Bakunin, a 19th-century Russian who was a leading theorist of anarchism.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Elizabeth Chuck