Banksy Buyer Plans to Keep Shredded Painting

Banksy’s shredded painting, now titled 'Love Is in the Bin' (2018)
Banksy’s shredded painting, now titled ‘Love Is in the Bin’ (2018) Photo: Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s said that the woman who won the $1.4 million Banksy painting that self-destructed after it was auctioned in London has decided to keep it.

The auction house said Thursday that Banksy’s authentication body, Pest Control, re-authenticated the 2006 graffiti-style artwork, “Girl With Balloon.” It has also been renamed “Love Is in the Bin” (2018)—an indication that the artist sees it as a new work.

The bidder who won it over the telephone last Friday remains anonymous, but Sotheby’s said she is a longtime European collector. In a statement released through the house, she said, “When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history.”

Sotheby’s said it had nothing to do with the intervention. “Were we in on it? Absolutely not,” said Sotheby’s expert Alex Branczik, posting a shredded image of the work to his Instagram account on Thursday. “Do you really think Banksy, who spent his youth stenciling walls in Bristol and dodging the local authorities, would want to collaborate with the art establishment? Come on.”

Even so, the auction house is capitalizing on the marketing bonanza drummed up by the event: It said the new owner agreed to let it display the work in its Mayfair showroom through Sunday.

Now that work has been authenticated once more by the artist, its value should remain intact—and could likely grow following its provocative auction moment, dealers said.

Banksy keeps his identity shrouded in mystery and has gained international acclaim for politically charged street art. Several of his works have been removed from buildings and sold at auction, while his 2010 documentary, “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” was nominated for an Academy Award.

“Banksy didn’t destroy an artwork” during Sotheby’s sale, Mr. Branczik wrote. “He created one.”

Write to Kelly Crow at kelly.crow@wsj.com

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