Banksy Painting Shreds Itself After Being Sold for $1.4 Million at Auction

The artist secretly embedded a shredder in the frame and later posted video of the stunt.

Banksy painting shredding itself immediately after being sold for $1.4 million at a Sotheby's auction. (Instagram, banksy)

The unknown street artist, Banksy—whose work is notorious for upending convention and applying a wry sense of humor—may have just pulled off his biggest effect yet.

Immediately after his iconic work “Girl with Balloon” sold for £1 million ($1.4 million) at a Sotheby’s auction on Friday, the painting started to automatically slide out the bottom of its frame, getting shredded along the way. Stunned onlookers watched as the painting was neatly rendered into ribbons and auction security guards quickly tried to hustle it out of sight.

This was no outsider attack, however, it was an act of commercial self-sabotage by Banksy himself. Not long after the sale, the artist posted a video on his Instagram that showed him building a shredder into the painting’s frame years ago and then apparently activating the device as soon as the painting was sold. Alongside the video, Banksy posted this quote from Picasso: “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”


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. “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge” – Picasso

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

But the joke may be on Banksy. After the painting shredded itself, the notoriety of the destructive act only added to its cachet—and value. One expert even estimated the remnants had doubled in value from that of the original, whole painting.

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