Another day, another record Banksy breaks in the art world. His painting, ‘Devolved Parliament’ recently sold at a record price of $12.1 million. The recent acquisition now holds the record of the highest price a painting the mysterious British artist has ever sold at an auction. And in a similar manner, the painting is also the biggest canvas Banksy has ever worked on.
Originally named “Question Time,” Banksy painted the 13-foot work of art back in 2009 for the Banksy vs. Bristol Museum exhibition. “I made this ten years ago. Bristol museum have just put it back on display to mark Brexit day,” posted the artist on his/her official Instagram account. “Laugh now, but one day no-one will be in charge,”. Initially, auction house Sotheby’s estimated that the painting will sell at just $1.9 to $2.5 million. The eventual price, in fact, far exceeded both amounts. It also exceeded his previous record of $1.9 million for his stencil work of a Damien Hirst piece.
The painting features chimpanzees depicted as members of parliament in the House of Commons. While they are seemingly engaged in what looks like an ordinary debate, few to almost none of the chimpanzees portray human-like behaviors. All are sitting as how the mammal would in a more natural setting. The chimpanzee on the bottom-right-most part of the painting seems to be picking his nose. And others in the background look like they’re screeching and jumping around. The artist tweaked the piece a little, however, and so it no longer exhibits its original state. The Commons’ lamps were wiped out and some of the chimpanzees’ poses were altered. One of the most expensive artworks ever bought, many attributed the UK’s tumultuous political atmosphere as what prompted such a hefty price tag. Most especially since Brexit is a current hot button issue right now. Banksy’s former agent Steve Lazarides shared that he thinks there’s more to the artist’s motive to paying such a price than just a passion for art. “It has to be more than just money, otherwise why wouldn’t you just invest in gold?” he noted. Banksy himself/herself reacted to the record-breaking sell on Instagram. “Record price for a Banksy painting set at auction tonight. Shame I didn’t still own it.” the artist relayed.
As evidenced by a lot of his works, Banksy usually conveys political and social commentary in his pieces. Most especially on his street art. He recently painted a mural in Dover which depicted a man chiseling off a star from the European Union flag. It was an obvious critique of Brexit and the political divisiveness it inspired. However, the mural was later seen painted over with white paint. In response, Banksy replied on Instagram, “Oh. I had planned that on the day of Brexit I was going to change the piece in Dover to this… But seems they’ve painted over it. Nevermind. I guess a big white flag says it just as well.”.
For now, there’s no word yet as to who the buyer was who settled to pay $12.1 million for Banksy’s ‘Devolved Parliament’ painting. What do you think of it? Is it too much money or do the artist and the artwork merit the hefty price tag? Share your reactions in our comments section below!
- Banksy Devolved Parliament – Highsnobiety.com
- Artist Bansky Painting – The National.ae