In a bizarre twist, a Banksy painting sold at auction for $1.4 million has been shredded by its frame. The auction house says that it had no prior knowledge of the artwork being self-destructive, but it is not clear whether it is being scrapped or resold.
The shredding happened on a wall in east London. The painting is titled “Girl with Balloon” and was executed in 2006. Banksy, a notorious graffiti artist, had previously donated the work to a consignor, believed to be Banksy’s publicist Jo Brooks.
Last October, Banksy’s “Girl With Balloon” sold for $1.4 million during a Sotheby’s auction. The buyer, an anonymous woman from Europe, made the winning bid. The buyer’s bid activated a secret shredder, which began chopping up the canvas into strips. After the bidder was done, the piece was shredded, leaving half of the canvas hanging from the frame in strips. The sale of this work caused a stir in the art world.
Banksy’s “Girl With Balloon” is one of the most famous works by an anonymous artist. However, Sotheby’s London auction house failed to notice the shredding device hidden in the frame, and the art buyer was shocked. He later discovered that the shredding mechanism had made the artwork much more valuable.