Banksy Original Sells For Record NZ Price

Published: Wed 31 Mar 2021 06:19 AM
March 30, 2021
An original and rare piece of art by secretive British street artist Banksy has sold at auction in Auckland for $1.7 million, making it the most expensive work by a contemporary artist ever sold in the country.
Keep It Real had been predicted to sell for between $600,000 and $1 million at the sale of Important and Rare art at the International Art Centre in Parnell tonight.
However, vigorous bidding from 38 bidders, including telephone bids from outside New Zealand and internet bids, pushed it up in after bidding began at $500,000. It reached $1,455,000 after 38 bids and was bought by a bidder who did not want to be publicly identified. With the buyer’s premium the price was pushed up to $1,709,000.
“We’ve had the world on the telephone,” International Art Centre director Richard Thomson told the auction house as the Banksy came up for sale.
Mr Thomson, who was also the auctioneer for tonight’s sale, said interest in the original Banksy work had been “quite outstanding”.
“It’s the first time an original Banksy has been sold in New Zealand and while we knew there was a lot of interest from Banksy fans around the world, we didn’t anticipate such global excitement.
“This is an historic and a very exciting day for the New Zealand art market.
“I said recently Banksy was the Michelangelo of the modern art world and his popularity and record prices reflect that.”
Michelangelo, an Italian, was considered to be one of the biggest influences on the development of western art.
Keep It Real, shows a chimpanzee wearing a sandwich board inscribed with ‘Keep it Real.’ It has been signed by Banksy and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity by Pest Control, the company set up by Banksy to authenticate and sell his works.
Tonight’s auction follows a world record for a Banksy work. Game Changer, a black and white work was donated by Banksy donated to a Southampton hospital to raise funds to support the United Kingdom campaign against Covid 19. It sold for $33 million, nearly six times the reserve Banksy put on it. Game Changer showed a small boy playing with a nurse super doll as other hero dolls such as Batman and Spiderman lay discarded in a nearby wastepaper basket.
Five other Banksy works also sold tonight. Four well surpassed their predicted prices, one sold for the upper price range and one sold for slightly more than the lower price bracket.
“Banksy’s appeal around the world is quite astonishing. Part of that is his subtle approach to his art which generates such powerful images and perceptions. He is a strong conservationist and his work is simple, very evocative and very compelling,” Mr Thomson said.

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