A Banksy mural, titled Slave Labour, that was hacked from a wall in Wood Green London, last week has been withdrawn from sale in a Miami auction. The artwork was estimated to sell for at least $500,000, when it went under the hammer on Saturday afternoon. In an 11th hour change of heart, the lot along with another, out of context Banksy, was withdrawn.
Earlier yesterday Mr Thut, the owner of the auction room stated, that his company had acquired the Banksy legitimately. “Not everything is owned by the public,” he said. “Some things are owned by private owners, and our research shows, the wall (where it was removed) is a private wall, so I think that the right thing is to ask the owner of the building.” It was always likely that due to all the adverse publicity the mural, (which Pest Control, the body that authenticates Banksy’s work has disowned) would go unsold.
Local councillor Alan Strickland stated, “I am delighted to have received a call from a journalist at the auction who told me that Slave Labour and Wet Dog, had been withdrawn from sale. He said: “To have the mural withdrawn from this sale is a wonderful surprise for the community here in Wood Green. It suggests the level of international media attention has had a real impact.”
The Banksy mural “Wet Dog”, originally appeared on a bus stop. It was among works for sale recently at the Keszler Gallery in New York. The harvested pieces were exported from the Middle East with the help of a Palestinian entrepreneur who is thought to have originally removed the paintings. They were on sale for $500,000 each. It is thought that Mr Keszler was also behind the removal of the London Banksy.
Artlyst firmly backed the council and people from Haringey and along with the mainstream press has managed to show that people have a lot more power than they think. Frederic Thut, owner and auctioneer at the inconsequential ‘Fine Art Auctions Miami’ relented to the pressure and has done the right thing.