Banksy Artwork Sells for $10 million at auction

Banksy, the English street artist, does the most interesting art on random walls in the city or in the most obscure places. He usually creates artwork that creates feelings inside the viewer or addresses problems in society. That’s exactly what he did with one of his few canvas pieces sold at a London auction.


On October 16th, 2020, in Sotheby’s auction house in London, one of the few canvas works he’s done, went up for bid. The bid closed with £7.6 million, or $9.8 million U.S. dollars. The piece is called “Show me the Monet” and is inspired by one of Claude Monet’s water lilies paintings but with a twist: it shows the pollution in today’s society. Banksy added in broken sinking shopping carts and one orange traffic cone.  Also included are a collection of wrappers, paper, plastic, and anything pollution found in oceans, lakes, and ponds.


This artwork is also ironic in a way. Monet’s lily canvas showed the idyllic aspects of the weather, seasons, and the environment. It also focused on calming colors such as greens, blues, pinks, yellows, and darker hues of those colors. Banksy, however, turned that idyllic painting into a problem that needs to be addressed. Banksy used hues of dull greens and blues for the trees and bridge. To counteract the greens and blues, he used grays, orange, and dark oranges. This made the pollution part of the painting stand out more, which showed a deeper meaning.


“Show me the Monet” is a part of one of Banksy’s collections called “Crude Oils: A Gallery of Re-mixed Masterpieces, Vandalism, and Vermin” where he takes a painting by famous artists including Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, and Jack Vettriano and reimagines it. In 2005, when the paintings were created, Banksy spoke out about the collection. He said, according to Sotheby’s, “The vandalized paintings reflect life as it is now. The real damage done to our environment is not done by graffiti writers and drunken teenagers, but by big business… exactly the people who put gold-framed pictures of landscapes on their walls and try to tell the rest of us how to behave.”


Banksy is still voicing his messages and opinions during the pandemic. In July, he posted a photo on Instagram that was a spray paint artwork he did on London’s metropolitan doors telling Londoners to wear masks. It later got removed for the anti-graffiti policy. He also posted in May his tribute to nurses and doctors who saved lives. The piece included a child playing with a nurse doll along with Batman and Spider-man figurines.


Today, Banksy is one of the most well-known influential artists in society. He continues to make people think about issues that need attention.