Banksy ‘Girl With Balloon’ Painting Sells for $1.4 Million—Then Self-Destructs on the Spot

October 6, 2018, 2:53 PM UTC

This big art purchase might not come with a high return on investment.

Banksy’s “Girl With Balloon” painting sold for $1.37 million at a Sotheby’s auction in London Friday night and, immediately after the sale, the artwork began moving through a remote controlled shredder hidden at the bottom of the frame. The puzzling incident stunned attendees of the auction. Some of their reactions were documented in a photo posted to Banksy’s Instagram. The artist later added a video with the caption “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge’
– Picasso,” as well.

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Going, going, gone…

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“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s senior director and head of contemporary art, said in a statement on the auction company’s website.

The original “Girl With Balloon” is, or possibly was, one of Banksy’s most famous works. It first appeared as street art in London in 2002 before its removal in 2014. The gallery version that was up for sale was executed in 2006 and was signed and dedicated on the reverse, featuring spray paint and acrylic on canvas, mounted on board. The artwork was, as noted in the Sotheby’s listing, mounted in the artist’s frame.