You don’t need to be a billionaire to buy Banksy art

18 March 2019|artists |James Nicholls

You don't need to be a billionaire to buy Banksy art

Banksy art hit the headlines recently when an artwork self-destructed in the midst of an auction, and demand for the anonymous artist’s work has shot up since then. However, we want to challenge the popular opinion that only the wealthiest investors can buy Banksy art.

How to buy Banksy art

Luckily for collectors, it’s possible to buy Banksy art at a wide range of prices. It’s true, some collectors have won auctions with six figure sums, but there are also much more affordable works available to budding investors.

Here at Maddox Gallery, we’re proud to show a selection of Banksy screenprints, which are generally far more affordable than his larger works on canvas or buildings.

Banksy artworks are consistent crowd pleasers across all of our galleries, and the artist is celebrated for his tongue-in-cheek humour, anti-capitalist stance and inventive use of rats, monkeys and other characters to comment on the nature of human behaviour.

If you’re looking to buy Banksy art, it’s important to ensure that there is a Certificate of Authenticity from Pest Control, a handling service acting on behalf of Banksy. With Banksy being such a popular artist and cultural icon, fakes do exist, so it’s important to verify any artwork’s authenticity.

For this reason, it can be advisable to buy Banksy a@grt from a reputable gallery or auction house. However, genuine works have been purchased in various places, including a car boot sale!

Top Banksy art sales

Banksy’s most expensive piece ‘Keep It Spotless’ sold for $1.7 million (£1.3 million) in 2008 at a Sotheby’s charity auction in New York. Originally a painting by Damien Hirst, Banksy had added his own spin on the piece with spray paint and household gloss.

In contrast, ‘Slave Labour’ was painted on the wall of a Poundland in London in 2012, in response to Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics memorabilia being produced in sweatshops. The mural was removed from the building and in 2013 sold at auction in Covent Garden for £950,000, once again nearing the million-pound mark.

Most recently, Banksy artwork ‘Girl with Balloon’ was auctioned at Sotheby’s London In October 2018. Polled as the best-loved work of British art in 2017, this image has become iconic in popular culture, and soared past its high estimate of £300,000 to sell for £860,000 (£1 million with fees). The work then partly shredded itself shortly after the sale had completed.

Banksy retitled the work ‘Love is in the Bin,’ and the anonymous collector chose to keep the work in its new form.  Sotheby’s referred to the “unexpected incident” as “instant art world history,” and the response by the media and the public may help the buyer to realise a high return, with its estimated value now nearing £2 million.

“It may well be one of the first works to be worth more destroyed than it is whole,” argued Banksy dealer Steve Lazarides. “If I were an avid Banksy collector, wouldn’t I want the most famous piece of art he’s ever made, even if it’s shredded in a box?”

Banksy art is embraced by established institutions

“The whole point of Banksy is that he does not operate in the classic institutional sphere and establishment museums are the antipathy of the spirit of his work,” Stephen Deuchar, former director of Tate Britain, told Artsy. “I admire Banksy for flourishing outside the conventional realm of museums and galleries, but in the wider public realm.”

As a result, there is currently no Banksy art featured in UK public collections. However, in February 2019 the British Museum acquired its first Banksy work, ‘Di-faced Tenner’. Perhaps this signals a sea change in the acceptance of Banksy by the most established art institutions in the UK. Now could be an astute time for collectors to buy Banksy art as his star rises even higher.

Written by James Nicholls, Chairman, Maddox Gallery.

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