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Banksy’s partially self-destructed “Balloon Girl” sold for record € 21.8 million

Three years after causing a sensation by partially self-destructing, “The Balloon Girl” by British artist Banksy flew this Thursday, October 14 for nearly 18.6 million pounds (21.8 million euros) at auction in London, a new record for the British artist.

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Renamed “Love is in the trash” (“Love is in the Bin”), the work sold at Sotheby’s in the British capital thus far exceeds the previous record set by a Banksy. Last March, “Game Changer”, a painting honoring caregivers during the coronavirus pandemic, had been sold for 16.75 million pounds (19.5 million euros) for the benefit of the British public health service.

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Before the sale on Thursday, Sotheby’s had estimated the work between 4 and 6 million pounds sterling (between 4.6 and 7 million euros).

Earthquake in the art world

Its last appearance at an auction in October 2018 had caused amazement around the world. No sooner had the hammer sounded when a crusher hidden in the frame had torn to shreds the lower half of the canvas, which depicts a little girl releasing a red heart-shaped balloon, leaving only the balloon intact. White background.

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It was about “One of the most ingenious moments of artistic performance of this century”, which had “Makes this auction go down in history”, said Alex Branczik, head of modern and contemporary art at Sotheby’s Asia, in a press release Thursday evening.

With this resounding action, which had caused a real earthquake in the art world, the street artist had the ambition to denounce the “Commodification” art. But since this coup, Banksy has panicked auctions, where his works are reaching records.

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Britain’s favorite work of art

Even before this global notoriety, “The Balloon Girl”, which first appeared in 2002 as stenciled graffiti on a wall on London’s South Bank, had previously been named Britain’s favorite work of art.

Friday, a diptych version of “The Balloon Girl” will be auctioned, also in the British capital, this time at Christie’s. Produced in 2005, the two-part canvas is estimated at between 2.5 and 3.5 million pounds sterling (between 2.9 and 4.1 million euros). The artist, who became known through a series of graffiti appearing on buildings, maintains the mystery of his identity.

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In 2005, he made the graffiti “The Flower Thrower” on a wall in Jerusalem, depicting a masked protester about to throw a bouquet of flowers. In October 2013, he made the streets of New York his playground by drawing almost one work a day for a month, his fans becoming treasure hunters on his heels.

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The artist also uses his graffiti bomb to show his opposition to Brexit, his support for migrants, or to warn about the climate emergency.

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