Sale of Banksy’s ‘Mobile Lovers’ for $670,000 Saves Youth Club

Banksy, Mobile Lovers (2014). Courtesy Vision Invisible/Flickr.

A philanthropist has bought Banksy’s mural Mobile Lovers from Bristol’s Broad Plain Boys’ Club for £403,000 (roughly $670,000), the BBC reports. The work, which was valued at about that price on Antiques Roadshow, first appeared in April 2014 in a Bristol doorway near the Boys’ Club, which quickly removed it in hopes of raising money to keep its doors open.

Banksy, a native of Bristol, eventually made a rare public statement giving the work to the youth group. The sale of the piece, which depicts a pair of lovers embracing only to look over each other’s shoulders at their cell phones, was brokered by Mary McCarthy, who runs the English street art dealership MM Contemporary Arts.

“I won’t be revealing the buyer, but it’s a private individual, a philanthropist who was very keen on investing in young people’s institutions,” McCarthy told the BBC. “I was able to find a buyer of significant value to be able to support them, not forever, but a little nest egg for a few years.”

In recognition of the financial boost they have received thanks to Banksy, members of the Boys’ Club have partnered with the Young Bristol Creative Team to make a “Thanks Banksy” mural.

Mobile Lovers has been a fantastic gift to us, without it, the club would definitely have shut within the next 12 months or so,” Boys’ Club leader Dennis Stinchcombe told BBC. “The sale of the work has given us a cushion, to assist us in carrying on with our valuable work with the young people of Bristol.”

The mural was on public display at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery from April 14 until today, August 26.

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