The elusive street artist Banksy continues to make waves in the art world. In October, Sotheby’s withdrew a sculpture by the artist from a London sale when the British artist Andy Link claimed it was stolen from him. Now, two men, who are 35 and 32 years old, respectively, have been taken into custody in Paris for the September 2019 theft of a stencil work by Banksy that had been on view near the Centre Pompidou.
The French publication Le Monde reports that during searches police seized works that Banksy may have created—an authentication process is underway. The work in question, which depicts a rat wielding a box knife, has not yet been located.
The stolen stencil was part of a series of eight unveiled by Banksy on the streets of the French capital in June 2018. The artist shared an image of the stolen work on June 26, 2018, accompanied by the a caption referencing student revolts in the French capital reading, “Fifty years since the uprising in Paris 1968. The birthplace of modern stencil art.”
After the theft of the work, the Pompidou filed a complaint for theft and damage on its grounds.
Banksy has made headlines in recent months for interventions in Bethlehem and England. In December, at the Walled Off Hotel, a guesthouse designed by Banksy near the West Bank wall, the artist debuted a new work titled The Scar of Bethlehem, which features a bullet hole above a Nativity scene. That same month, the artist revealed a new public artwork of two reindeer rendered next to a street bench in Birmingham, England.