Two Banksy paintings from Robbie Williams' Collection fetch combined US$9.5 million

This season’s London Auction Week is the first time Christie’s and Sotheby’s faced each other directly in 2022. The two parties' Evening Sales both garnered £222 million (around US$295 million dollars).

Sotheby's Now Evening Sale was held in New York in 2021 for the first time, while it was held in London this year for its second edition. During this year, all the Contemporary Art featured are the creations of the past 20 years of the 21st century – including NFT Digital Art.

Amongst 22 lots offered, two were withdrawn and one was unsold. The sale rate was 95 per cent, and achieved a sale total of £29.9 million pounds (around US$39.8 million dollars). The total hammer price was £24.3 million pounds – £2 million pounds more than the pre-auction high estimate. These figures were far less than last time in New York – US$71.8 million dollars were garnered and all 23 lots were sold. 

The three Banksy works collected by British pop star, Robbie Williams, attracted much attention before the auction. But Kissing Coppers was withdrawn, while the remaining two works Vandalised Oils (Choppers) and Girl and Balloon were the most and third most expensive lots. Both paintings amassed a combined £7.2 million pounds (US$9.5 million dollars).

Robbie Williams 

Lot 7 | Banksy | Vandalised Oils (Choppers), Oil and spray paint on canvas

Created in 2005
94 x 61 cm

  • Acquired directly from the artist

Estimate: £2,500,000 – 3,500,000

Hammer Price: £3,600,000

Sold: £4,384,900 (around US$5.7 million)

Banksy's Vandalised Oils (Choppers) was hammered £3.6 million pounds (around US$4.8 million)

The winning bid was by Charlotte Van Dercook for her client with paddle number 34

Auctioneer Oliver Barker started the bidding at £2.1 million pounds. The bidding war was mainly competed between Charlotte Van Dercook (New York's Head of Contemporary Art Evening Auction) and Fergus Duff (London's Senior Client Liaison Director).

After 17 bids, the auctioneer dropped the hammer at £3.6 million pounds. Charlotte Van Dercook won the bid for her client with paddle number 34. In the end, the painting sold for £4.3 million pounds (around US$5.7 million), with buyer’s premium.

Created in 2005, this work depicts two armed military helicopters disrupt a serene pastoral landscape. Hailing from the artist’s Vandalised Oils series – each work uses elements of graffiti and modernity to debase an oil painting. It is believed that the painting represents Banksy’s critique of the dangerous potentials of mechanised warfare.

A recurring theme amongst his works, Banksy’s depiction of the American Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter first appeared as a sprayed mural in London at the Whitecross Street Market in 2002.

Banksy's Vandalised Oils series is highly sought after in the auction market. Sunflowers from Petrol Station was sold at US$14.5 million dollars in November 2021 – making it Banksy's third most expensive work ever. The series of oeuvres are new renditions of well-known oil paintings to evoke a sense of irony.

In the painting, two military helicopters are depicted flying into the countryside - disrupting the tranquil scenery

Lot 11 Cecily Brown | Faeriefeller, Oil on linen

Created in 2019
180.3 x 170 cm

  • Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
  • Private Collection
  • Private Collection
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner

Estimate: £2,200,000 – 2,800,000

Hammer Price: £2,400,000

Sold: £2,919,000 (around US$3.8 million)

This sale’s second most expensive lot was Faeriefeller, by British contemporary artist Cecily Brown.

The bidding started at £1.8 million pounds, and the bidding atmosphere was not very enthusiastic. After six bids, it was hammered down at £2.4 million pounds. In the end, it was sold at £2.9 million pounds (around US$3.8 million dollars).

Curvilinear sweeps of motion in dynamic hues of crimson, moss green, teal and ochre coalesce unfold on the surface of Faeriefeller – a recent large-scale example of Cecily Brown’s animated and seductive style of abstraction.

This present work is an iteration from a series of oil paintings begun in 2019 that combine a range of influences – from Victorian fairy painting and Grand Manner portraiture – to the visual languages of Edouard Manet, Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning and the lyrics of rock-n-roll legends of the 1960s and 1970s.

Brown’s Faeriefeller takes its title from Richard Dadd’s hallucinatory painting, The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke (1855-1864) – a 19th-century masterpiece in the Collection of Tate Britain. Dadd’s woodland fairies depicted on miniature scale in the Victorian-era work are here abstracted and blown up to immense proportions on the surface of Faeriefeller, as small nymph-like faces appear and disappear within the rich forest of Brown’s pulsating brushwork.

Lot 6 Banksy | Girl with Balloon, Stencil and spray paint on metal

Created in 2006
60 x 90 cm

  • Acquired directly from the artist

Estimate: £2,000,000 – 3,000,000

Hammer Price: £2,300,000

Sold: £2,818,000 (around US$3.7 million)

Girl and Balloon from Robbie Williams' Collection is a metal version of this Banksy classic. The work started at £1.6 million pounds. After seven bids, the hammer was dropped at £2.3 million pounds. The winning bid was by Fergus Duff (Head of Senior Customer Liaison Department in London), for his client with paddle number 69. In the end, it was sold at £2.8 million pounds (around US$3.7 million dollars).

This painting shows a girl releasing a red, heart-shaped balloon flying into the distance. In 2002, it made its debut under Waterloo Bridge, London.

In 2018, a canvas version of the image passed through a shredder inserted into its frame moments after it sold at Sotheby’s London for more than £1 million pounds.

In its new form, the shredded artwork became Love is in the Bin. It sold for £18.5 million pounds (around US$25.4 million dollars) in October 2021 – setting a new Banksy auction record

The self-destructing artwork, Girl with Balloon (which later became Love is in the Bin), stunned the art world

Banksy's Love is in the Bin fetched around US$25.4 million dollars | Sotheby’s London, October 2021

Emerging female artists set new auction records: 

The auction’s most enthusiastic part was the sale of a group of works by emerging female artists – all of which were hammered at multiples of their low estimates and set auction records. These artists included Flora Yukhnovich, Shara Hughes, Hilary Pecis and Rachel Jones.

Lot 4 Flora Yukhnovich Warm, Wet ‘N’ Wild, Oil on canvas

Created in 2020
210 x 179.8 cm

  • Parafin, London
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner

Estimate: £150,000 – 200,000

Hammer Price: £2,200,000

Sold: £2,697,000 (around US$3.6 million)

Lot 3 Shara Hughes | Naked Lady, Oil and dye on canvas

Created in 2019
198.1 x 167.6 cm

  • Rachel Uffner Gallery, New York
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner

Estimate: £220,000 – 280,000

Hammer Price: £1,650,000

Sold: £2,031,500 (around US$2.7 million)

Lot 5 Hilary Pecis | Fish and Bird, Acrylic on canvas

Created in 2019
127 x 101.6 cm

  • Rachel Uffner Gallery, New York
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner

Estimate: £100,000 – 150,000

Hammer Price: £750,000

Sold: £942,500 (around US$1.2 million)

Lot 1  Rachel Jones | A Slow Teething, Oil pastel and oil stick on canvas

Created in 2020
105 x 242 cm

  • The Sunday Painter, London
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner

Estimate: £50,000 – 70,000

Hammer Price: £490,000

Sold: £617,400 (around US$823,000)

As for the NFT Digital Art lot featured in this Sale, Robbie Barrat's AI Generated Nude Portrait #7 Frame #64's was not as enthusiastically bid.

The work was hammered at £500,000 pounds  £200,000 pounds below its low estimate. In the end, it sold for £630,000 pounds (around US$840,000 dollars), with buyer's premium. 

Lot 9  Robbie Barrat | AI Generated Nude Portrait #7 Frame #64, Plastic card with intact foil 

Created in 2018
Card Dimensions:
5.4 x 8.6 cm

  • Acquired as a gift from the artist by the present owner

Estimate: £700,000 – 1,200,000

Hammer Price: £500,000

Sold: £630,000 (around US$840,000)

Auction Details:

Auction House: Sotheby’s London

Sale: The Now Evening Sale

Sale Date: 2 March 2022

Number of lots: 20

Sold: 19

Unsold: 1

Sale Rate: 95%

Sale Total: £29,982,500 (around US$39.8 million)