$1.4 Million Artwork Self-Destructs

The artwork was shredded moment after going under the hammer for $1.7m

As if the rumour mill had not turned enough over the past week, Sotheby's now says Banksy did not destroy a work of art during its contemporary evening sale on 5 October-he created one.

The quote, which he mistakenly (maybe?) attributed to Picasso actually comes from 19th-century Russian theorist of anarchism, Mikhail Bakunin.

Banksy, a British street artist known for his stunts, appeared last week to have pulled off the flawless art world prank.

The unnamed buyer, described as a female European collector and a long-standing client of Sotheby's auction house, has proceeded with the transaction.

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The 12-year-old painting had just been sold for 1,042,000 pounds ($1.37 million) - matching Banksy's all-time record.

It was auctioned off for $1.4 million.

Some have even suggested that it was Banksy himself who successfully bid for his own painting at auction - with the final buyer known to be on the telephone.

It is not known how the shredder was installed in the frame or how the anonymous artist timed his stunt.

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Thierry Ehrmann, who heads Artprice, a firm which closely monitors art market prices, agreed that the prank had probably increased the value of the work.

Of course, the auction house is already trying to spin this in their favour: "We are busy figuring out what this means in an auction context", Branczik told The Art Newspaper.

Once a small-time graffiti artist from the English city of Bristol, Banksy's work has become hugely valuable.

In 2016, scientists at Queen Mary's University in London used geographic profiling, based on the artist's movements, to identify him as a man called Robin Gunningham. In 2006 he had built a life-size image of a hooded Guantanamo Bay detainee inside a ride in Disneyland themed park in California.

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The clip shows him placing the blade and later cuts to footage shot inside the auction room of the moment the shredder does its job.

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