According to reporting by the New York Times, a painting by street artist Banksy was shredded by a remote control immediately after selling for $1.4 million at an auction at Sotheby’s in London on Friday night.
Banksy created the painting, Girl with Balloon, in 2006.
Sotheby’s would not reveal the winning bidder to the Times, saying only that it was a private collector, and that the house is “currently in discussion about next steps.”
It is far from the first art market stunt from Banksy. Five years ago, he sold his art on the street in New York for $60, with some people picking up works that regularly trade for 500 times that amount.
Reached this afternoon by phone in London, Steve Lazarides, an art dealer who was Banksy’s agent for 12 years ending in 2008, called the stunt “one of the best things I’ve ever seen him do, one of the best things that has ever happened in an auction room—I’ve never seen anything that comes close to it.”
Lazarides rejected speculation that Sotheby’s could have been in on the joke. “It’s not Bansky’s way,” he said. “He’s not going to collude with an institution.”
Earlier in the Friday evening Sotheby’s sale, as ARTnews reported, a Jenny Saville painting sold for $12.4 million, a record price for a living woman artist at auction.