1. Banksy’s piece entitled “Picnic” was sold to American actress Angelina Jolie and actor Brad Pitt for $226,000. The artwork depicts a white family enjoying a pleasant picnic while remaining oblivious to the small crowd of starving Africans encircling them. Typical of Banksy’s trademark sarcastic political statements, this piece exemplifies much of what Banksy’s art appears to be striving to communicate. The piece is loosely based off of the classic Manet painting entitled, “The Picnic, or (Le Dejeuner sur l’Herbe) and uses the obvious contrast in the two main elements as a technique to satirize the inequality in income across the world and the often racial motivations behind that inequality.
2. Due to the unconventional nature of Banksy’s art, the auctioning of his art often comes coupled with the auction of the house attached to it. In one of the more notable of these situations was the $400,000 sale of a property, in southwest England. The mural on the wall of the house provided, courtesy of Banksy, was worth most of the price of the entire sale. The owners sold the home in 2007 through the Red Propeller art gallery. The owners were originally distressed that many of the prospective buyers would want to remove the mural so the sale to the art gallery was an all around good move; resulting in the preservation of the piece as well as a decent chunk of cash for the former owners.
3. The highest asking price for a Banksy piece so far has come from a couple selling a mobile home in Norfolk, UK. The couple had met Banksy at a music festival over a decade ago, before Banksy was anything other than “just another tagger”, and allowed him to use their mobile home as a canvas which as left them with a piece of art carrying a value that was formerly unimaginable to the couple. The owners decided to sell their home for $1 million because they believed that they were not capable of being responsible for such a work of art.
4. The purchaser of a Banksy work that appeared on the wall of a London man’s garage for the meager price of $2,000 paid off well. The purchaser spent an additional $60,000 for the careful removal of the mural that may now be worth as much as $600,000.
5. Most recently, a Banksy mural sold for over $400,000 in an eBay.com auction in January of 2008. The piece, which depicts a painter, his color pallet, and his box of supplies as he is painting the name “Banksy” in red graffiti, was painted on the side of a building on Portobello Road in London.
Recently, there has been concern among many of his fans as to how the potential unmasking of the mysterious Banksy would affect his sales and the overall popularity of his work. Would collectors still pay as much for his work if he didn’t remain anonymous? We may never find out for sure; Banksy has clearly expressed his confidence in his ability to hide his identity, and he plans to do just that.