A rare premiere edition screen print by controversial street artist Banksy is up for auction in Wellington, and could sell for as much as $A46,000.
International interest is already brewing over the iconic print of Girl with Balloon, which comes with an original Pest Control Banksy certificate of authenticity (a handling service acting on behalf of the artist) and is signed and dated March 9, 2011.
The print, measuring 700mm by 500mm has been put up for auction by a private Wellington collector and is expected to go under the hammer for anywhere between $A28,000 and $A46,000.
Auction house Art+Object’s managing director Hamish Coney said it was “very, very rare” to find a signed print by the anonymous UK artist in New Zealand.
“Generally speaking, when the works are editioned originally by somebody like Pest Control in the UK then they have a queue of purchasers waiting to acquire them. Our client acquired the work overseas,” he said.
“They come in different types of editions and this is one of the premiere editions and one of his key images and very, very rare to find in New Zealand.”
Girl With Balloon was originally painted on London’s West Bank in 2002. Banksy is renowned for his highly politicised street art and for remaining anonymous.
“Banksy is one of these artists, there’s Shepard Fairey and a number of other artists, who kind of sit outside of what we would understand as the ‘artist’s world’,” Coney explained.
“These street artists and graffiti artists (are people) who made their careers effectively outside the gallery system and so a lot of their work is in places, like Banksy’s, where they’re effectively theoretically “anonymous” interventions on all sorts of walls, buildings, structures around the world and the way that the artist is able to effectively build a financial structure around their work is to release these limited addition print.
“These images pop up unannounced all over the world depending on the point that he’s trying to make.”
A Banksy exhibition that ran over summer in Auckland, The Art of Banksy, curated by the elusive artist’s former manager Steve Lazarides, was the largest collection of Banksy’s work featuring 80 pieces worth a total of $A37.5 million.
Coney said his colleague was already fielding international calls for the April 12 auction.
“Between then and now I’m sure we’ll have a lot more interest in this particular work,” he said.
You can view the catalogue for the April 12 auction via Art+Object’s website.
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