Banksy’s Artwork Depicting Chimpanzees as MPs Set to Break the Artist’s Auction Record

Banksy’s artwork Devolved Parliament will be auctioned at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction in London on 3 October for £1.5m-£2m, which could set a new auction record for the street artist.

Painted in 2009, Devolved Parliament is a satirical painting that depicts the House of Commons full of chimpanzees as debating MPs. It was first exhibited in the Banksy versus Bristol Museum exhibition, which took place at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery in 2009. The show attracted more than 300,000 visitors and became one of the top 10 most visited exhibitions in the world in 2009.

The painting has once again returned to the spotlight when it was put on display on 31 March this year to mark Britain’s exit from the European Union. Brexit Day is most recently scheduled to 31 October after repeated deferral of the date, making Banksy’s prophetic and sardonically humorous Devolved Parliament ever more pertinent.

Measuring 276x446 cm, the artwork is the largest known canvas by Banksy. The chimpanzee has appeared as a recurring motif in Banksy’s oeuvre since 2002 when the artist produced a long-stencilled graffiti work entitled Laugh Now, which sold at auction in 2008 for the then auction record for the artist.

A screenprint of Laugh Now is now offered at Sotheby’s Banksy online sale

Banksy's Keep it Spotless

Devolved Parliament is estimated to fetch £1.5m-£2m at auction. It could obliterate the artist’s current record of US$1.87m (£1.52m) that set by Keep it Spotless at Sotheby’s New York in 2008. Early this month, a truck painted by Banksy was offered at Bonhams with an estimate between £1m-1.5m (US$1.3m-2m) but it failed to sell.

Last October, Banksy's grabbed worldwide attention with his self-destructing artwork Love Is in the Bin that sold for £1.04m at Sotheby's London. Shall we expect another mind-blowing stunt from the artist again this year?

Banksy (b.1974). Devolved Parliament

Lot no.: 28
Size: 276 x 446cm

  • The Artist
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2011

Estimate: £1,500,000-2,000,000

Auction details

Auction house: Sotheby’s London
Sale: Contemporary Art Evening Auction
Date: 3 October 2019 | 7pm BST