Bristol

Banksy painting of MPs as chimpanzees sells for £9.9m

Devolved Parliament Image copyright Sotheby's
Image caption The painting is nearly four metres (13ft) wide and is the largest known canvas by Banksy

A painting by Banksy showing the House of Commons overrun with chimpanzees has sold at auction for just under £9.9m.

The 4m (13ft) wide artwork Devolved Parliament was painted by the anonymous Bristol artist in 2009.

Expected to fetch up to £2m, it sold for nearly five times its estimate at Sotheby's in London on Thursday.

Banksy reacted on Instagram, saying it was a "record price for a Banksy painting" and "shame I didn't still own it".

'Bidding battle'

Sotheby's tweeted the painting had sold "to applause at £9,879,500 - nine times its previous record - after a 13-minute bidding battle".

The auction house 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."

However, the record-breaking price was seemingly questioned by the elusive artist who posted a quote from Robert Hughes on his Instagram account, stating: "Instead of being the common property of humankind the way a book is, art becomes the particular property of someone who can afford it."

Devolved Parliament is the artist's biggest known work on canvas.

It beat the previous auction record for a Banksy, thought to be the $1.8m (£1.4m) for Keep It Spotless, which sold at Sotheby's in New York in 2008.

Alex Branczik, from Sotheby's, said Banksy "confronted the burning issues of the day".

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Media captionThe anonymous artist's Girl With Balloon self-destructs after £1m auction sale

He said the artist "distils society's most complicated political situations into just one, deceptively simple image that is readily shareable in our social media age".

Banksy created Devolved Parliament for the takeover of Bristol Museum in 2009, which attracted more than 300,000 visitors and was said to be one of the most visited exhibitions in the world that year.

The painting's anonymous owner lent it to the museum earlier this year to mark both the exhibition's 10th anniversary and Britain's original planned exit from the EU on 29 March.

The auction took place a year after Banksy himself intervened in a Sotheby's auction, when his artwork Girl with Balloon self-destructed as the gavel came down to become the newly titled Love is in the Bin.

Image caption Devolved Parliament was put on display in April at Bristol Museum

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