A Banksy painting inspired by a Monet masterpiece is expected to fetch up to 5 million pounds ($6.5m) at a livestream auction on Wednesday, at Sotheby’s in London.
Show Me the Monet is based on The Water-Lily Pond, but with the idyllic scene ruined by fly-tipping – the dumping of waste in undesignated areas.
The work was first shown 15 years ago in London.
Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art for Europe, has said the painting marked an important transition in Banksy’s career.
“It’s at that moment that Banksy the graffiti artist, the street artist, makes his transition from the streets to the hallowed world of the gallery scene,” Branczik told AFP news agency.
4 sales, 3 cities, 2 nights: the first of our live auction events will take place TONIGHT!! 💥💥 Tune in on our website, or on Facebook from 4.30pm BST / 5.30pm CEST / 11.30am ET, as BBC presenter @theKatieDerham goes LIVE from behind the scenes: https://t.co/Oh5PexIBym. pic.twitter.com/yPfnOP82v3
— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) October 21, 2020
Banksy, who has never revealed his identity, began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England, and has become one of the world’s best-known artists.
“To me, he is a modern-day Voltaire,” Branczik said.
His mischievous and often satirical images include two policemen kissing, armed riot police with yellow smiley faces and a chimpanzee with a sign bearing the words: “Laugh now, but one day I’ll be in charge.”
In 2018, his painting “Girl With Balloon” sold for 1 million pounds ($1.3 million) at a Sotheby’s auction, and was immediately partially destroyed by a shredder that the artist had concealed in the frame.
He often takes on social justice issues.
In June, Banksy showed his support for the Black Lives Matter movement with a painting portraying a candle-lit vigil under a United States flag. He also recently funded a refugee rescue ship.