British Pop Star Robbie Williams Is Selling a Trio of Banksy Works Worth Over $13 Million to Buy ‘New Art From New People’
It is the first time that the 'Angels' singer has decided to sell works from his private art collection.
Banksy artworks owned by Robbie Williams will go on sale at a Sotheby’s London auction in March. The trio of works will be offered for a combined estimate of £10 million ($13.6 million).
The well-known works are Girl with Balloon from 2002 (it is an earlier edition of the one that famously shredded during an auction in 2018), as well as Vandalised Oils (Choppers) and Kissing Coppers, both from 2005. It’s the first time the British pop star is selling art from his vault; Williams bought the works directly from the artist not long after they were made, according to the Financial Times, but years before the artist’s market exploded in prices.
Each is a version of the reclusive artist’s iconic stencilled street art that cropped up around the U.K. in the early 2000s. Girl with Balloon was first seen under Waterloo Bridge in 2002, while Vandalised Oils (Choppers) appeared in Whitecross Street Market in east London that same year. Kissing Choppers was originally spotted on a wall of a pub in Brighton in 2004. Williams said that the pieces “combine three things I love: hip-hop culture, naughtiness, and comedy.”
The paintings are among the highlights of Sotheby’s debut evening sale in London called “The Now,” which takes place on March 2. Each of the Banksy pieces carries a pre-sale estimate between £2 million ($2.7 million) and £3.5 million ($4.8 million), excluding fees.
“I believe they are some of his best paintings and I love how closely linked they are to the street pieces,” said the Let Me Entertain You singer. “As a collector of Banksy’s work, you become part of a broader cultural movement.” Williams has more Banksy artworks in his trove that he decided to hold onto for now.
Hugo Cobb, head of “The Now” section, said they had been discussing a sale with the pop star for a while before they agreed on the selection. “Collecting-wise, Banksy used to be a very, very specialist category. For a very long time there used to be a small group of people, mostly British, who collected Banksy,” Cobb said. “In the last four or five years what we have seen is an explosion of interest.”
Works by the street artist have become some of the most sought-after items in the art market in recent years. His famed work Love is in the Bin sold for a record $25.4 million (including fees) to an Asian buyer at a Sotheby’s London sale last October. The work was originally a version of Girl With Balloon but it self-destructed after it went under hammer in a 2018 sale.
Williams, who began his pop music career in the 1990s, went on to become a successful solo singer releasing a number of hits including Angels. He told Financial Times he is selling the three works by Banksy to finance his own “art project” that he will launch this year and to free up some space to reinvest in “new art from new people.”
The trio of works will go on tour in New York over the coming week before heading in Hong Kong in early February. They will then travel back to London for the sale on March 2.
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