The elite world of Fine Art collecting is something that straight up boggles my mind. I get wanting to have nice art on your walls. I grew up in a family of artists. My grandmother was a painter and my grandfather was a bronze sculptor who even apprenticed under Pablo Picasso in Italy when my mom was just a toddler.
Art’s great but is it ‘spend more money than most people make in a lifetime on a single piece of art that will be locked away in your mansion for only you to enjoy’ great? I guess, to some, it is.
Banksy is in a class of his own. Every single thing he does in the art world makes headlines. Ranging from him remotely shredding a painting that had just been sold at auction to keeping his identity secret but always on the verge of being discovered, anytime he wants to make headlines he does.
Unlike someone chasing a person down an alley with a video camera and capturing grainy footage with the caption ‘is this Banksy?’, this is genuinely newsworthy in the world of wealth. Banksy’s ‘Devolved Parliament’ painting set a record at Sotheby’s auction out of nowhere, becoming the most expensive Banksy painting ever sold, and it caught everyone by surprise.
The ‘Devolved Parliament’ painting depicts a room full of chimpanzees in England’s Parliament and is an explicitly obvious jab at the current state of global politics. Going into the auction, Sotheby’s predicted this painting would sell for £1.5m-£2m…It sold for 5x that.
The bidding on this piece lasted for an astounding 13 minutes and once the dust had settled ‘Devolved Parliament’ sold for $12,203,602 (£9,879,500) which is nine times the previous record of a Banksy painting sold at auction, $1.87 million for ‘Keep It Spotless’ back in 2008.
Unlike his last high-profile auction, this painting wasn’t shredded by a remotely-activated paper shredder hidden in the frame after the bidding was done. Banksy responded to news of this sale on his personal Instagram with a quote about the purpose of art and his caption reads “Record price for a Banksy painting set at auction tonight. Shame I didn’t still own it.”
I have to wonder what someone’s net worth must be in order to spend TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS on a painting of some chimpanzees sitting in Parliament. This has to have been purchased by some Saudi oil billionaire or Mark Zuckerberg, right?
My hunch is this painting will be stashed away on someone’s 400-foot mega-yacht in the Mediterranean and will slowly deteriorate over time due to the damage from saltwater and humidity. Just as Banksy had intended…