'Forgive Us Our Trespassing' Becomes Second Most Expensive Banksy To Sell At Auction
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'Forgive Us Our Trespassing' Becomes Second Most Expensive Banksy To Sell At Auction

Oct 9, 2020

'Forgive Us Our Trespassing' went to auction at Sotheby's Hong Kong Contemporary Art Evening Sale last week. Estimated between £1,600,000 and £3,200,000, the artwork caused an intense bidding war and went on to sell for roughly £6,400,000. The outstanding result makes it the second most expensive piece by Banksy to ever be sold at auction.

Forgive Us Our Trespassing by Banksy, 2011, acrylic, spray paint and marker pens on wooden panel, in four parts.

Forgive Us Our Trespassing by Banksy, 2011, acrylic, spray paint and marker pens on wooden panel, in four parts.

Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Towering at seven meters high, Banksy’s 'Forgive Us Our Trespassing' is the largest known piece by the anonymous street artist. While the image of the praying boy first appeared on the streets in 2010, the 7-meter version was created in 2011 with the participation of more than 100 6th-9th grade students at the City of Angels School.

Sotheby's described the piece as follows:

With students assisting in tagging the stained glass windows, the present work goes to the very heart of the spirit of street art and graffiti. The imagery itself, on the other hand, is a potent and moving revelation of Banksy’s conflicted feelings about being a graffiti artist, speaking to deep preoccupations and pathos that underscore his artistic production. Trespassing is an act and word that underlies the very modus operandi of graffiti and street art, as street artists must trespass on private property in order to tag or paint a wall or surface. By asking for forgiveness, Banksy acknowledges the concerns of those who see his work as vandalism, but seems to convey that he ultimately means well, asking for understanding. Searing with raw immediacy while evincing rich layers of interpretations, Forgive Us Our Trespassing is a formidable, museum-caliber piece by the internationally acclaimed artist whose subversive practice has granted him a reputation of infamy as much as world renown... The setting of a sacred church functions on the one hand to heighten the ambiguous sentiments of contrition and repentance; on the other hand, the sacrilegious blasphemy of defacing the hallowed windows of a church paints an incredibly powerful statement that epitomizes Banksy’s cheeky, anarchic irreverence and rebellious spirit.

Detail of 'Forgive Us Our Trespassing'

Detail of 'Forgive Us Our Trespassing'

"People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish... but that's only if it's done properly."

Banksy

'Forgive Us Our Trespassing' exhibited at MOCA, Los Angeles in 2011

'Forgive Us Our Trespassing' exhibited at MOCA, Los Angeles in 2011

Image courtesy of designboom

The highest price ever achieved at auction for a work by the notorious Street artist is £9,879,500 for 'Devolved Parliament' at Sotheby's Frieze Week Contemporary Art Sale in 2019. At 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.

Devolved Parliament by Bansky 2009, oil on canvas.

Devolved Parliament by Bansky 2009, oil on canvas.

Image courtesy of Christie's

Thank you for reading. Be sure to check our Banksy page for available works by the artist as well as our updated Bansky editions guide here. Don't hesitate to get in touch should you have any questions or wish to request a catalogue.

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