$1.3M Banksy Artwork "Self-Destructs" at Auction

039;We’ve been Banksy’d!' Balloon girl self-destructs upon fetching 1.1mn at Sotheby’s auction

Sotheby’s 'Banksy-ed' as painting 'self-destructs' live at auction

The spray-painted canvas "Girl With Balloon" went under the hammer at Sotheby's in London, fetching more than three times its pre-sale estimate and equalling a record price for the artist.

That was the question on everyone's lips when one of the Bristolian street artist's paintings mysteriously self-destructed as the auction drew to a close.

"[It] sold for over a million dollars and as we sat there...the painting started moving", he said, and added that the painting's frame, also made by Banksy, acted as a shredder and started to cut the canvas into strips.

Alex Branczik, the auction house's head of contemporary art, told onlookers "we just got Bansky-ed" and labelled it "genius".

Previously in 2012, a different copy of the "Girl with Balloon" painting sold for between £15,000 - 25,000 GBP (approximately $19,680 - 32,800 USD) at a Bonhams auction.

But Branczik said: "You could argue that the work is now more valuable". "It's certainly the first piece to be spontaneously shredded as an auction ends".

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In a statement, the auctioneers Sotheby's said they were in discussions with the purchaser of the destroyed artwork, who they described as "surprised".

Banksy posted an image on Instagram of the shredded work dangling from the bottom of the frame with the title "Going, going, gone ..."

The true identity of the Bristol-born artist has never been officially revealed despite wide speculation.

But perhaps, now known as the subject of one of the greatest pranks in the art world, Girl With Red Balloon will be worth even more in its shredded state.

He came to prominence through a series of graffiti pieces that appeared on buildings across the country, marked by deeply satirical undertones.

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