Banksy’s painting sold for $615,000 – about £386,000
A LANDSCAPE painting bought from a charity shop by graffiti artist Banksy – who then added a figure of a Nazi officer admiring the view – has raised almost £400,000 at auction.
The Bristol-born artist bought the mountain scene from a store run by charity Housing Works in New York, where he has just finished a month-long street art residency called Better Out Than In.
He added a stencilled rear view of a man in an SS officer’s uniform and Nazi armband, sitting on a bench in the foreground of the picture.
The painting was then dropped back at the shop by a woman who said it was worth a lot of money.
Staff were then called by a representative of the artist confirming he had added the Nazi and advising them to put the painting, which Banksy signed and titled The Banality of the Banality of Evil, up for auction.
It was put on a charity auction website with a starting price of $76,000 – about £48,000.
The final sale price was $615,000 – a little over £386,000.
The money will go towards the work of the US charity, which is dedicated to helping people living with HIV and Aids, and ending homelessness.
Housing Works’ senior vice-president for retail businesses, David Raper, said: “Housing Works cannot express how fortunate we feel to have been a part of the Banksy residency in New York.
“The generous donation of his artwork will allow us to do so much good for our clients dealing with the dual crisis of homelessness and AIDS that still plagues our city streets.”
Hours before the sale finished police in New York arrested four people trying to remove an inflatable Banksy tag attached to a derelict building in the Queens district of New York.
The New York Post quoted one of the arrested men as saying that he was going to put the piece up in a museum – and said police had taken the work away as evidence.