Banksy painting 'Devolved Parliament' sells for $19m

Original artworks by British artist Banksy form part of an installation inside a shop front ahead of an online sale in Croydon

A Banksy artwork depicting MPs in the House of Commons as chimpanzees has been sold for close to £10m, in what organisers say is a record for the artist.

That comfortably beats the previous auction record for a Banksy - the 1.9 million USA dollars (£1.54 million) paid for Keep It Spotless, which was sold at Sotheby's in NY.

The 2009 satirical oil on canvas painting is a staggering 13 feet wide, the largest known work by Banksy.

First created in 2009, "Devolved Parliament" was originally named "Question Time" but was renamed and partially reworked after the United Kingdom.

This sale comes a year after "Girl with Balloon", another Banksy canvas, shredded itself in front of shocked onlookers at a Sotheby's auction at the very moment it was sold.

Devolved Parliament, in which chimpanzees replace politicians in the House of Commons, more than comfortably surpassed its estimated price tag of £1.5-million ($2.5-million) to £2-million, with the auctioneer declaring "history being made" at one point during the sale, which was streamed live.

That's a record for the mysterious British street artist.

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The artwork, which had a guide price of between £1.5-2 million, was first unveiled as part of the Bristol artist's exhibition Banksy vs Bristol Museum in 2009.

The shop had come about as a greeting cards company had been trying to seize custody of the name Banksy and the artist said he had been advised the best way to prevent this was to sell his own range of branded merchandise. It went back on display at Bristol Museum earlier this year to coincide with the 10-year anniversary and (since delayed) Brexit deadline.

That work, which was sold for $1.4 million, self-destructed via a shredder hidden in the artwork's frame in October 2018, and was subsequently renamed "Love in the Bin".

Alex Branczik, the European head of contemporary art at Sotheby's, described Banksy as a "modern-day Voltaire" in confronting the "burning issues of the day".

According to Sotheby's, the bidding lasted only 13 minutes and said, "Regardless of where you sit in the Brexit debate, there's no doubt that this work is more pertinent now than it has ever been". "Shame I didn't still own it".

Banksy posted a quote by art critic Robert Hughes about the value and objective of art on his Instagram after the auction Thursday.

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