One of Britain’s most famous pop stars of the past three decades is auctioning off works by one of the world’s most famous contemporary artists.
Robbie Williams, who has built a huge fortune from record sales and concerts, is selling three works by Banksy, the anonymous street artist whose partially shredded painting Love is in the Bin fetched a record 18.5 million l ‘last year.
Pieces from Williams’ art collection Kissing Coppers, Girl with Balloon and Vandalized Oils (Choppers) are expected to sell for a total of between 7m and 10m.
These works unite the cultural legacies of two of Britain’s biggest stars: Robbie Williams and Banksy, said Sothebys’ Hugo Cobb. Like their creator and like their owner, they are acerbic, iconic, irreverent and unique.
Kissing Coppers, which depicts two British police officers in a passionate embrace, first appeared on the exterior wall of the Prince Albert pub in Brighton in 2004. The original mural was removed in 2014 after being repeatedly vandalized.
It was interpreted as showing Banksys’ support for the public acceptance of homosexuality, according to Sothebys.
The Williams version of the work is a 2005 painting on canvas, estimated at between 2.5m and 3.5m.
Girl with Balloon debuted under Waterloo Bridge in London in 2002. In 2018, a canvas version of the image went through a paper shredder inserted into its frame moments after it was sold for just over a metre. The self-destruction of the works caused a sensation all over the world. The 2006 Williams version is depicted on metal and is the first of its kind to appear at auction. It has a price estimate of 2m to 3m.
Vandalized Oils (Choppers), from 2005, features two military helicopters disrupting a serene pastoral landscape. It is part of a Banksy series that layers graffiti over classic oil paintings and has an estimate of 2.5m to 3.5m.
Williams said he thinks his three Banksys are some of his best paintings and love how closely they relate to street art. He added: As a collector of Banksys works, you are part of a larger cultural movement.
The three works will be exhibited at Sothebys New York on Saturday for six days. They will then be visible in Hong Kong and London before being sold on March 2.
A work by Banksy, whose real name has never been confirmed, which appeared on the wall of an electrical shop in Lowestoft, Suffolk, in August was sold privately, it was reported this week. The image of a child with a crowbar was removed in November.
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