Banksy Game Changer sells record £ 16.7million to benefit charities supporting the NHS


Banksy’s game changer
Courtesy of Christie’s

Banksy painting Game changer sold today for a record £ 14.4million (£ 16.7million with fees) at Christie’s in London against its estimate of £ 2.5-3.5million. All of the hammer price will be donated by the artist to “help support health organizations and charities across the UK to improve the care and treatment provided by the NHS,” a statement said. Christie’s “will also donate a significant portion of the buyer’s premium to these causes.”

After lengthy tenders, two bidders – one an online bidder in the British Virgin Islands and the other on the phone with Christie’s Tessa Lord – ended up locking the horns for the job. He was eventually knocked down by Lord’s telephone bidder.

The previous record for a work by Banksy was set in 2019 by the huge canvas of 2009 Decentralized Parliament, which sold at Sotheby’s in London for £ 8.5m (£ 9.9m including fees).

Game changer, an original work on canvas, suddenly appeared last May at Southampton University Hospital as a thank you, Banksy says, to staff during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. It depicts a little boy playing with superhero toys, throwing Batman and Spiderman out and choosing instead to play with a masked nurse in the Red Cross uniform.

The canvas was accompanied by a note when it appeared, saying, “Thank you for everything you do. Hope this brightens up the place a bit, even if it’s only in black and white.” A reproduction will remain in view at the hospital.

David French, Acting Managing Director of Southampton University Hospital, said: “This incredible gift will be invaluable in helping us focus on promoting and protecting the well-being of our staff as they heal and recover. from last year. As a charitable donation, this ensures our staff have a say in how money is spent to benefit them, our patients and our community and is a fantastic way to thank them and to reward them for the sacrifices they have made.

The Banksy was part of the group of the first lots of Christie’s 20th Century Art Evening Sale – a bit of an overkill since the sale actually started in the afternoon and the first lot of works offered didn’t was not at all made in the twentieth century, but rather in recent years.

Most of the excitement of the day focused on the top ten items, including the $ 41.7 million Basquiat theoretically sold in Hong Kong as a single lot sale, but also listed as “Lot 1.” For the ensuing auction. The rest of the sale – of 20th century works from everyone from Dubuffet to Picasso to Bacon and Sisley – went fairly well. Christie’s may have renamed its sales of Impressionist and Modern, and postwar and contemporary art to 20th and 21st century art auctions, but this event read more as “an assortment of things we can find and think we can sell ”.

With few opportunities to spend, money burned holes in some high net worth pockets as very fresh works by hard-to-obtain younger artists – purchased in recent years directly from their galleries – hit the market. secondary.

Joy Labinjo’s painting No Wahala (2019) sold for £ 120,000 (£ 150,000 with fees) against an estimate of £ 30,000 to £ 40,000
Courtesy of Christie’s

Lot 2, for example: the 2019 canvas by Joy Labinjo, No Wahala, purchased in 2019 from the relatively young London gallery Tiwani Contemporary. Artnet’s price database lists this is only the third work by the 26-year-old British artist to appear at auction. It sold for £ 120,000 (£ 150,000 with costs) against an estimate of £ 30,000 to £ 40,000. This only scratches a new record for the artist, beating the $ 189,000 (fees included) paid to Phillips in New York last December – a result that could have prompted this seller to consign.

Then followed another work from 2019, by London painter Issy Wood, much in demand, titled Over Armor (non-linear, non-violent), which sold for double its estimate of £ 200,000 (£ 250,000 with fees) – the artist’s first work to appear at auction. Wood is also in his late twenties and this painting was purchased just two years ago from the Carlos Ishikawa Gallery in London.

Considering how quickly it was resold, it seems unlikely that the shipper will be allowed to buy from this gallery again anytime soon. A spokesperson for Tiwani Contemporary tells The art journal that the sender of Labinjo’s work will no longer be resold by the gallery.

Tessa Lord, head of Christie’s evening auction at the London Department of Postwar and Contemporary Art, said following the sale that this result was supported by the recent exhibition of Wood at the X Museum in Beijing. “It’s a privilege to participate in artist markets for the first time at auction,” Lord says. “We are committed to developing these artists.”

The next lot, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s The like above all lovers (2013), was purchased by the seller from Corvi Mora, another mid-level London gallery, which nurtured the artist for many years. The response to this work was surprisingly a bit flat, and it sold for £ 410,000 (£ 512,500 with fees) against an estimate of £ 400,000 to £ 600,000.

Auction on Claire Tabouret’s three-meter-wide canvas The Last Day (2016) started at the high estimate of £ 200,000 and sold for £ 500,000 (£ 622,500 with fees)
Courtesy of Christie’s

But bidding for lot 5, the magnificent 3 m wide canvas by Claire Tabouret, born in Los Angeles The last day, was anything but lukewarm. Painted in 2016 and bought by the Night Gallery seller in Los Angeles, the auction started at the high estimate of £ 200,000 and sold for £ 500,000 (£ 622,500 with charges) on a last minute phone offer from Christie’s Andre Zlattinger . This is yet another new record for Tabouret, breaking the previous record of 3.5 million Hong Kong dollars (451,607 dollars with fees) for Disguises (Disguises) at Phillips Hong Kong last July.

Then, a few lots later, came the untitled bucolic landscape by the late Matthew Wong from 2017, purchased the same year from the Karma Gallery in New York. Estimated between £ 500,000 and £ 700,000, it sold for £ 2.2million (£ 2.7million with fees), a continuation of the intoxicating auction prices set for Wong’s work since his death, at just 35 years, in 2019.

During the after-sales press conference, Guillaume Cerutti, Managing Director of Christie’s, called the sale “the first major sale in London after Brexit”. In total, the Basquiat auction, 20th century art evening sale and surrealist art sale totaled £ 198.7million (including fees), well above estimates with 93% of 82 lots sold. The sales were, according to Christie’s, watched online by around 400,000 people.


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