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Banksy MPs as chimpanzees painting sells for £9.9m

Banksy MPs as chimpanzees painting sells for £9.9m

Devolved ParliamentImage copyright
Sotheby’s

Image caption

The painting is nearly four metres (13ft) wide and is the largest known canvas by Banksy

A painting by Banksy showing the House of Commons overrun with chimpanzees has sold at auction for just under £9.9m.

The 4m (13ft) wide artwork Devolved Parliament was painted by the anonymous Bristol artist in 2009.

Expected to fetch between £1.5m and £2m, it sold for nearly five times its estimate at Sotheby’s in London.

Banksy reacted on Instagram, saying it was a “record price for a Banksy painting” and “shame I didn’t still own it”.

Sotheby’s tweeted the painting had sold “to applause at £9,879,500 – nine times its previous record – after a 13 minute bidding battle”.

The auction house said: “Regardless of where you sit in the Brexit debate, there’s no doubt that this work is more pertinent now than it has ever been.”

Devolved Parliament is the artist’s biggest known work on canvas.

It beat the previous auction record for a Banksy, thought to be the $1.8m (£1.4m) for Keep It Spotless, which sold at Sotheby’s in New York in 2008.

Alex Branczik, from Sotheby’s, said Banksy “confronted the burning issues of the day”.

He said the artist “distils society’s most complicated political situations into just one, deceptively simple image that is readily shareable in our social media age”.

Banksy created Devolved Parliament for the takeover of Bristol Museum in 2009, which attracted more than 300,000 visitors and was said to be one of the most visited exhibitions in the world that year.

The painting’s anonymous owner lent it to the museum earlier this year to mark both the exhibition’s 10th anniversary and Britain’s original planned exit from the EU on 29 March.

The auction took place a year after Banksy himself intervened in a Sotheby’s auction, when his artwork Girl with Balloon self-destructed as the gavel came down to become the newly titled Love is in the Bin.

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