Sotheby’s responds to claims they knew Banksy’s painting would self-destruct at auction

"This is now part of Art History in its shredded state".

Sotheby’s have denied that they had any prior knowledge after a Banksy painting self-destructed only moments after selling for $1.1 million .

A print of the iconic ‘Girl with Balloon’ painting went under the hammer at the London auction house on Friday evening.

But within moments of the record breaking bid being announced at around 9PM , an alarm was immediately triggered within the frame, before the painting was shredded into ribbons that hung from the bottom.

In the aftermath of the stunt, it was suggested that Sotheby’s may have been “in on the stunt”.

Posting on Twitter, marketing expert Andrew Bloch shared a thread explaining how he believed that it was near-impossible for Sotheby’s to not be aware of the stunt beforehand.

“Sotheby’s had a duty of care to inspect the artwork pre-auction and would have seen the shredder in the frame, the unusually deep thickness, and the opening at the bottom.”, he wrote.

“A million dollar piece of artwork will be inspected thoroughly several times for appraisal and insurance. There’s no way this mechanism wouldn’t have been discovered.”

Responding to the claim, Sotheby’s told NME: “We had no prior knowledge of this event and were not in any way involved.

“We think our auctioneer and European Chairman Oliver Barker described it best from the rostrum on Friday evening: “A brilliant Banksy moment!”

Despite going through the shredder, art experts believe that Banksy may have actually increased the value of the iconic work.

Speaking to The Evening Standard, Joey Syer, co-founder of www.MyArtBroker.com, said: “Today said that the shredded artwork could now have doubled in value. Girl with Balloon is one of the most iconic images of recent times. It’s seen some of the sharpest price increases over previous years with signed/unsigned prints and canvass showing an average of +20% yoy. Prices now are regularly exceeding £115,000 for signed authenticated prints.”

He added: “The auction result will only propel this further and given the media attention this stunt has received, the lucky buyer would see a great return on the £1.02m they paid last night, this is now part of Art History in its shredded state and we’d estimate Banksy has added at a minimum 50% to it’s value, possibly as high as being worth £2m+.”