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Banksy's Love is in the Bin sells for record £16m

  • October 15, 2021
    Banksy's Love is in the Bin sells for record £16m

    A Banksy artwork which shredded itself at a previous auction has sold for a record £16m.

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    Love is in the Bin was what remained of the artist's live destruction of his piece Girl with Balloon, which sold for £1m in 2018.

    It went under the hammer at Sotheby's in London on Thursday, selling for £16m - vastly over its £4-6m guide price.

    Including a buyer's premium, the purchaser paid £18.5m in total.

    The sale, which saw nine bidders battle for around 10 minutes, beats the previous record of £16.8m set for Banksy in March.

    After closing bidding. auctioneer Oliver Barker joked he was relieved that the artwork was "still there".

    'A true icon'
    Before opening the bidding, Mr Barker said that the painting became an "unexpected piece of performance art" when it shredded in the same auction room after being sold to a "private European investor" three years ago.

    Opening bids at £2.5m, its price tag hit £10m within minutes as numerous offers were placed.

    Bidding then gradually climbed to a record £15m as the race progressively narrowed down between fewer bidders.

    There were a fewer tentative moments after bidder Nick Buckley Wood, representing a private investor, waited to see if anyone would outdo his client's £16m offer.

    A shake of the head from his rival finally indicated they were out of the running.

    'It is exceptional'
    Former BBC arts editor Will Gompertz wrote at the time that he believed Love is in the Bin would go on to be seen as "one of the most significant artworks of the early 21st Century".

    "It is not a great painting that can be compared to a late Rembrandt, or a sculpture to sit alongside Michelangelo's David, but in terms of conceptual art emanating from [Marcel] Duchamp's Dadaist sensibility, it is exceptional," he added.

    "It was brilliant in both conception and execution."

    "What is Love is in the Bin?" he asked. "Is it a painting? Or, is it now a piece of conceptual art? Or should it be classified as a sculpture? Or is it rubbish?