Sale on for Banksy painting that self-destructed at auction

The artwork was shredded moment after going under the hammer for $1.7m

The auction house says a female European collector was the successful bidder who offered 1.04 million pounds for "Girl With Balloon". But just after the auction manager slammed the hammer closing the sale, the image started to slip down through its massive frame which shredded it into pieces.

Sotheby's said Thursday, Oct. 11 the painting is being sold with a new title, "Love is in the Bin".

There are voices that claim this unprecedented "instant art world history" is nothing more than a hoax.

He said the initial feeling in the busy auction hall was "consternation" but then everyone realised it was a prank by the artist.

Alex Branczik, Sotheby's head of contemporary art, Europe, said: "Banksy didn't destroy an artwork in the auction, he created one". "People who had never had an exhibition, and had no hope of getting into the traditional art world, discovered that using tools that Banksy showed us, we could put art on the streets".

The buyer's identity was not revealed but Sotheby's quoted her as saying: "When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history".

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The iconic image of a girl reaching out for a red, heart-shaped balloon, sold for $1.4 million.

The gallery version featured spray paint and acrylic on canvas, mounted on a board. The mural - in a town which overwhelmingly voted to leave and is one of Britain's main crossing points to the continent - gained much attention after it emerged that it was the work of Banksy, the elusive artist, who till this time had not made known his political views on the contentious Brexit referendum.

The auction victor made a telephone call at about 21h and offered a significantly more than what was the estimated value of about 200-300,000 pounds.

Banksy rose to prominence through a series of graffiti pieces that appeared on buildings across the country, marked by deeply satirical undertones.

Other recent works included the opening of Dismaland, his dystopian, Disneyland-esque theme park in 2015, which he described as a "family theme park unsuitable for children".

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