Banksy Painting "Devolved Parliament" Sells For $12.1 Million - TNBC UK

Sotheby’s auction house said that a Banksy painting fetching near about 9.9 million pounds. The picture depicts the British parliament populated by chimpanzees smashed the record for the mysterious British street artist on Thursday.

The 2009 work entitled “Devolved Parliament” sold for 9,879,500 pounds ($12.1 million, 11.1 million euros) following a 13-minute battle between 10 different bidders.

The artist said on his Instagram account “Record price for a Banksy painting set at auction tonight. Shame I didn’t still own it”. The previous auction record for a Banksy artwork was $1.87 million, achieved by Keep it Spotless” at Sotheby’s New York in 2008.

“Devolved Parliament” was likely to fetch 1.5 million pounds to 2 million in pounds Thursday’s sale. The size of the painting is 4.2 meters by 2.5 meters unframed – the largest known canvas by the anonymous artist. 

The painting reveals chimpanzees on the green benches of the House of Commons, from the viewpoint of the main entrance. The sale comes after the controversial five-week suspension of Britain’s parliament by Prime Minister Boris Johnson was deemed unlawful by the Supreme Court, with time running out Britain is due to leave the European Union on October 31.

Parliament was due to return on October 14 but instead reconvened on September 25 after Britain’s highest court quashed the suspension, and then about whether their language in doing so was too strong. 

John Bercow, the Commons Speaker said they were the most toxic scenes he had ever seen in his 22 years in the elected lower chamber. Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s European head of contemporary art, told sources before the sale, “Inevitably what we have been seeing in the Houses of Parliament over the last few months and weeks has become a daily soap opera, not just in the UK… but also across the rest of Europe and indeed the world.”

“What he’s pointing to here is the regression of the oldest parliamentary democracy in the world into tribalistic animalistic behavior, the sort that we’ve seen broadcasted on our televisions,” said Branczik.

“The real genius of Banksy is his ability to reduce this incredibly complex debate into one single simple image, which importantly is very readily shared in this age of social media and a very image-consuming population.”

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