Sotheby’s Hopes Banksy’s Painting About the ‘Excesses of Consumerism’ Will Generate $6 Million in Excess Consumerism at Auction

Banksy's 'Show Me the Monet' will appear at a virtual Modern and contemporary art auction in Paris and London next month.

Banksy's Show Me The Monet (2005) inexplicably shown with two women. Courtesy of Sotheby's. Photo: Michael Bowles/Getty Images for Sotheby's.
Banksy, Show Me The Monet (2005) and two random women. Photo: Michael Bowles/Getty Images for Sotheby's. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Banksy’s dingy interpretation of a Monet masterpiece will highlight Sotheby’s live-streamed auction in Europe next month. 

The 2005 painting, aptly titled Show Me the Monet, recreates the famous Japanese Footbridge from Giverny, which the French landscape artist himself painted over a dozen times. Banksy’s take, though, is decidedly less serene, turning the placid pond into a derelict repository for old shopping carts and safety cones. Sotheby’s estimates the work will go for £3-5 million ($3.9-6.5 million) at the October 21 sale.

“Ever prescient as a voice of protest and social dissent, here Banksy shines a light on society’s disregard for the environment in favor of the wasteful excesses of consumerism,” says Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s European head of contemporary art, in a statement. 

“Recent years have seen a host of seminal Banksys come to auction, but this is one of his strongest, and most iconic, to appear yet.”

Show Me the Monet belongs to the street artist’s “Crude Oils” series of paintings that ape canonized artworks with a Banksyian twist. Hazematted workers dump chemicals in the background of a knockoff of Jack Vettriano’s Singing Butler, for instance, while the titular Sunflowers of Van Gogh’s classic painting are shown dead and petal-less. 

The Monet take was shown once before, at Banksy’s first gallery show in 2005. The artist filled the exhibition space with 164 living rats. 

Following in the steps of its hybrid auctions in New York in June and London in July, Sotheby’s will merge its Modern and contemporary art sales into a hybrid, live-streamed event. Sotheby’s European chairman Helena Newman will kick off the auction houses’s “Modernités” sale in Paris before another chairman, Oliver Barker, presides over the contemporary evening auction in London.

Banksy, Devolved Parliament (2009). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Banksy, Devolved Parliament (2009). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

It was at the latter event last year that Banksy’s Devolved Parliament, a controversial sendup of the British House of Commons, hammered down at a startling £9.9 million ($12.1 million)—setting an auction record for the artist. 

In addition to Banksy’s contribution, October’s hybrid sale will also be highlighted by Bridget Riley’s black and white moire exercise from 1966, Untitled (Diagonal Curve), which is estimated to go for £5.5-7.5 million ($7.1-9.7 million); Francis Picabia’s 1929 oil and watercolor portrait of Greek judge of death, Minos, expected to fetch €2.9–3.5 million ($3.3-4.1 million); and Georg Baselitz’s 1985 canvas, Mutter und Kind (Mother and Child), which is predicted to take in £1.5-2 million ($1.9-2.6 million).


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