Wealth

Banksy painting depicting primates in British Parliament fetches $12.2 million at auction

Key Points
  • A 2009 Banksy painting depicting primates conducting business as usual in British Parliament fetched about $12.2 million in a Sotheby's auction Thursday.
  • The painting, entitled "Devolved Parliament," sold for almost nine times its previous price after a 13-minute bidding war, Sotheby's auction house announced in a tweet.
A gallery assistant poses with an artwork entitled 'Devolved Parliament' by British artist Banksy, during a press view in London on September 27, 2019, ahead of Sotheby's contemporary art sale, as part of the Frieze Art Fair.
Tolga Akmen | AFP | Getty Images

A Banksy painting depicting primates conducting business as usual in British Parliament fetched a whopping 9.88 million Euros at an auction Thursday, or about $12.2 million.

The painting, entitled "Devolved Parliament," sold for almost nine times its previous price after a 13-minute bidding war, Sotheby's auction house announced in a tweet.

The Banksy work was originally displayed in 2009 and called "Question Time," but the "Devolved Parliament" item sold Thursday has some differences with the earlier version, according to the New York Times.

In a statement to the Times, Sotheby's confirmed that the work being sold was the "Question Time" original, but "the painting has been reworked by the artist and more recently retitled."

On March 28, the painting's then-owner put it back on display at the Bristol Museum to mark 10 years since the "Banksy versus Bristol Museum" show and coming just ahead of the first Brexit deadline. The new Brexit deadline is Oct. 31.

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Banksy, who is known for an anonymous identity and subversive, satirical political graffiti, has seen his work repeatedly rake in vast sums in the fine art market. Just last year, "Girl with Balloon" sold for $1.4 million at Sotheby's, before shredding itself to the shock of onlooking bidders. That painting was renamed "Love is in the Bin" following the spectacle.

Sotheby's is no stranger to selling paintings for jaw-dropping sums. An 1890 Monet landscape painting sold for $110.7 million in May, setting a record for the auction house.

Sotheby's reached an agreement in June with media entrepreneur and art collector Patrick Drahi to be taken private again, in a deal worth $3.7 billion. The multi-national auction house was publicly traded for 31 years on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Key Points
  • Brexit is now hanging in the balance after the U.K. government submitted last-ditch proposals to the EU as the departure date of October 31 fast approaches.
  • The proposals involved new plans to get around the so-far intractable issue of the Irish "backstop" designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.
  • The new proposals would see would see Northern Ireland (a part of the U.K.) stay in the European single market for goods but leave the customs union.