His art is known to be similar to Banksy's and many have claimed he could be the man behind the can. Moments after his iconic painting Girl with Balloon, 2006, the last lot of the night, sold for $1.4 million-matching the artist's previous auction record, which was achieved in 2008-an alarm sounded, and the frame that held the canvas started to shred the piece as auctioneers and attendees watched in shock. It is worth noting that while the painting was worth millions in the bid, Banksy would not have gotten a single cent since it was an auction resale, not that Banksy would have wanted a piece of the cake, though.
How did the auction house respond to that observation?
The famous graffiti artist Banksy is known for his stunts and this one "became instant art world history", the statement said, marking the first time in auction history that a painting shredded itself after the gavel fell.
Soon afterwards the artist posted a video of the scene with the caption "Going, going, gone", leading some to say Banksy himself was the buyer, in collaboration with Sotheby's. He said the auction house was still "busily figuring out" how the transaction for the now radically altered work will play out.
Whether the Banksy painting's final bidder is expected to pay "as is" for the painting is unclear. Its stencil has been repeated in an edition of 150 prints and 25 numbered paintings by Banksy.
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Banksy has previously been named as Robin Gunningham - a former pupil at Bristol Cathedral School.
Various grainy pictures and video clips purporting to show Banksy in the act have surfaced over the years, but no clear conclusion has been reached as to his identity. Another man, who was seen activating a remote-control mechanism, was pictured in a post on the private Instagram page of Caroline Lang, chairwoman of Sotheby's Switzerland.
"We've just been Banksy'd", said Alex Branczik, senior director at Sotheby's, on Friday. "He stencilled a "gangsta rat" on the gallery wall during the preview of Damien Hirst's "Pharmacy" sale 14 years ago, nearly to the day".
The work, estimated by Sotheby's at 3 million pounds to 4 million pounds, was offered as part of the estate of David Teiger, a Museum of Modern Art trustee who died in 2014. "It was meant to be a criticism of the art market, and I think it's going to double the value of the work".
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