Banksy artwork 'Devolved Parliament' sells for more than $16M

WATCH: A painting of Britain's Parliament that depicts primates sitting in the place of MPs sold for more than US$12 million on Thursday, a record price at auction for the secretive street artist.

One of Banksy‘s most-beloved paintings, Devolved Parliament, has been sold at an auction.

Though it was expected to rake in only £1.5 million to £2 million, the popular art piece sold for £9,879,500 — or more than C$16 million.

The 13-foot-wide piece sold on Thursday after a 13-minute bidding war at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction in London, England.

According to the site, it became the most expensive Banksy painting to date. It’s also the anonymous British street artist’s largest known canvas to date.

Devolved Parliament is Banksy’s take on the British House of Commons in which chimpanzees replace all of its politicians.

READ MORE: Banksy artwork shows up in Venice alongside canal

It was completed in 2009 for a year-long Banksy exhibit at the Bristol Museum.

A few hours after the sale, Banksy posted to his personal Instagram page. He shared a lengthy quote from renowned art critic Robert Hughes that detailed his thoughts about the true value of art.

The quote read: “The price of a work of art is now part of its function. Its new job is to sit on the wall and get more expensive. Instead of being the common property of humankind the way a book is, art becomes the particular property of someone who can afford it.”

Because Banksy often makes graffiti art that is found across the world, he technically does not own some of his artwork, which results in property owners tearing down the walls on which that artwork is found and either preserving it for themselves or selling it on the market.

READ MORE: Banksy painting self-destructs moments after selling for $1.4 million at auction

Though the artist no longer sells photographs or reproductions of his street graffiti, he said in his Instagram post that Devolved Parliament was no longer his property — even before the sale.

“Record price for a Banksy painting set at auction tonight,” he wrote on Instagram. “Shame I still didn’t own it.”

The shredded Banksy painting 'Love Is in the Bin' is exhibited at the Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden on Feb. 4, 2019, where the work will be shown from Feb. 5 to March 3, 2019.

The shredded Banksy painting 'Love Is in the Bin' is exhibited at the Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden on Feb. 4, 2019, where the work will be shown from Feb. 5 to March 3, 2019.

Uli Deck, DPA via AP

Last year, after being sold to an unsuspecting bidder for more $1.4 million, Banksy’s Girl with Balloon was sucked into a shredder hidden in its frame and ultimately destroyed just as the hammer fell down at the same London auction house.

This time around, however, Devolved Parliament did not self-destruct, likely because Banksy no longer owned it, meaning he would have been unable to rig the canvas up with an unexpected booby trap.

READ MORE: Banksy frenzy hits Canada: How and why the legendary street artist remains anonymous

Updates and additional information regarding Banksy and his artwork can be found through the artist’s official website.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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