Sotheby’s anticipated 'Frieze Week Contemporary Art Sale' set the art world in a frenzy on Thursday when Banksy's 'Devolved Parliament' completely smashed its pre-sale estimate, soaring to £9,879,500 million and setting a new world record for the artist.

Estimated at £1.5m-£2m, the piece sparked a 13-minute bidding battle in the sale-room and on the phones, going on to sell for nearly five times its estimate. This set an all new world record for Banksy and Street Art. Banksy's auction record was previously held by 'Keep It Spotless' which sold for £1.500.000 in 2008.

Devolved Parliament, 2009, oil on canvas, signed and dated, 276 x 476 cm. 

Measuring nearly 5 meters wide, 'Devolved Parliament', is the artist's biggest known work on canvas and depicts the House of Commons populated by his signature chimpanzees. The piece was created for Banksy's 2009 exhibition at his hometown's Bristol Museum, after which it was sold. Earlier this year, to mark both the exhibition's 10th anniversary and the original Brexit date on 29 March, the piece was put back on display. At the time Banksy commented: "I made this 10 years ago. Bristol Museum have just put it back on display to mark Brexit day. Laugh now, but one day no-one will be in charge." The piece had been on display at Sotheby's sale rooms from September 28, ahead of the much anticipated auction.


There is no denying that, despite the painting being created in 2009, the piece came to the market at just the right moment. With the UK's current political turmoil, from the House of Commons locked in a constitutional battle with the government and prime minister, Boris Johnson, unlawfully suspending Parliament for weeks, the piece could not paint a better picture of current events.


Inside Sotheby's Auction Room for Banksy's 'Devolved Parliament'

Sotheby’s European Head of Contemporary Art, Alex Branczik, commented: "What he's pointing to here is the regression of the oldest parliamentary democracy in the world into tribalistic animalistic behaviour, 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..."
Detail of Devolved Parliament.


As news broke of the record-breaking result Banksy took to his Instagram to comment posting the below image:


View this post on Instagram

. Record price for a Banksy painting set at auction tonight. Shame I didn’t still own it.

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

As always, thank you for reading. You can browse available works by Banksy by clicking here, and don't hesitate to get in touch to request a catalogue of the artist's work.


Till next time,
Hang-Up Team



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