Three years on, shredded Banksy artwork returns to auction

A gallery employee poses for photographers next to Banksy's artwork Love Is In The Bin at Sotheby's auction house in London. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON (REUTERS) - Three years after shredding itself the moment it sold at auction, a painting of a young girl holding a red heart-shaped balloon by elusive British artist Banksy is going back under the hammer next month with a price tag of up to US$8 million (S$10 million).

Onlookers gasped after the bottom half of the then-titled Girl With Balloon was sucked into a shredder hidden in its frame as the hammer fell following a bid of £1,042,000 at an October 2018 auction at Sotheby's in London.

The buyer proceeded with the purchase and the artwork, since authenticated as a work in itself and renamed Love Is In The Bin, is being offered for sale with a price estimate of £4 million to £6 million (S$7 million to S$11 million).

"It's gone up tremendously, nearly four times, obviously, since that last time. But I think also in the interim, Banksy's market commercially has also grown exponentially," Oliver Barker, Sotheby's European chairman, told Reuters.

"It's very rare to find an artwork by any artist, which is truly the icon not only of that artist, but actually in the art world itself."

In March, a Banksy painting showing a boy playing with a toy nurse as a superhero sold for more than US$20 million, setting an auction record for the artist.

Love Is In The Bin will be displayed at Sotheby's in London before travelling to Hong Kong, Taipei and New York and returning to the British capital for the Oct 14 sale.

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