Banksy take on iconic Monet sells for $13.5m

Show Me The Monet, a modern take on Claude Monet's impressionist classic The Water-Lily Pond, fetched the second-highest price at auction for Banksy.
Show Me The Monet, a modern take on Claude Monet's impressionist classic The Water-Lily Pond, fetched the second-highest price at auction for Banksy.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • An oil painting by British street artist Banksy parodying a Claude Monet masterpiece sold in London on Wednesday for close to £7.6 million (S$13.5 million), the second-highest price at auction for the mysterious artist.

The oil-on-canvas work, Show Me The Monet, a modern take on Monet's impressionist classic The Water-Lily Pond, sold for £7.55 million at Sotheby's following a bidding battle.

"The hammer came down after five determined collectors battled for nearly nine minutes to drive the final price beyond its estimate of £3 million to £5 million to become the second-highest price for the artist at auction," Sotheby's said.

The sale comes a year after a Banksy painting depicting the British Parliament populated by chimpanzees smashed the record for the street artist by fetching nearly £9.9 million.

On that occasion, the 2009 work titled Devolved Parliament attracted a 13-minute battle among 10 bidders.

Show Me The Monet was created in 2005, as part of a collection called The Crude Oils, and had first been shown publicly in only Banksy's second gallery exhibition.

The painting transforms Monet's masterpiece, depicting a Japanese-style bridge in his famous garden at Giverny, into a modern-day flytipping spot.

Instead of an idyllic lily pond, the composition shows discarded shopping trolleys and a fluorescent orange traffic cone floating in the water beneath the bridge.

Banksy has become a household name since the turn of the century, after his iconic graffiti paintings began to appear overnight on buildings and at sites around the world.

The artist's identity remains shrouded in mystery even as his works have begun to attract increasingly high sums at auction.

Meanwhile, a painting by British artist David Hockney, sold by the Royal Opera House in London to raise funds to help survive the coronavirus pandemic, fetched nearly £13 million at auction on Thursday. The painting, which depicts the iconic British institution's former chief David Webster, had been estimated to sell for between £11 million and £18 million.

At an evening auction of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's in London, the work - Portrait Of Sir David Webster - went under the hammer for £12.87 million.

The Royal Opera House announced earlier this month that it had been forced to sell the painting as it faces "the biggest crisis in our history" due to the pandemic.

"The proceeds will be used to ensure that the world's greatest artists can once more return to our stages," its chief executive Alex Beard said at the time.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2020, with the headline 'Banksy take on iconic Monet sells for $13.5m'. Print Edition | Subscribe