Banksy - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Friday, April 16, 2021 | Phillips

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  • 'People look at an oil painting and admire the use of brushstrokes to convey meaning. People look at a graffiti painting and admire the use of a drainpipe to gain access.' —BanksyLove is in the air is one of Banksy’s most iconic and sought-after works of art, as well as one of the most reproduced. This work serves as a symbol of peaceful resistance and a hymn to spontaneity. Banksy mixes dark and humorous imagery, juxtaposing opposite symbols and playing with clichés.


    Banksy created the Love is in the air stencil following his first solo exhibition at the Los Angeles based 33 1/3 Gallery in 2002. The image first appeared as graffiti in Jerusalem shortly after the West Bank Wall was built and was reproduced as a print with the red background, circa 2003. That same year it could also have been spotted spray painted on a wall off London’s Rivington Street.


    Banksy has constantly reworked the stencil throughout his career. For Banksy, art is an instrument of denunciation which is why he immerses his work into the everyday, alongside people, on concrete, wood and bricks.

    'As soon as I cut my first stencil I could feel the power there. I also like the political edge. All graffiti is low-level dissent, but stencils have an extra history. They’ve been used to start revolutions and to stop wars.' —BanksyLove is in the air epitomises Banksy’s most prominent motifs and themes. The image of a young man with his face partially covered by a bandana and a ball cap, leaning backward as if to throw something aggressively, is contrasted with the bouquet of flowers in his hand. The intense red, a colour of both hatred and love, further emphasises the contrast between the forceful posture and the launch of what is the epitome of peace and love. The work is a symbol of a peaceful protest as Banksy once remarked, ‘If you want to say something and have people listen then you have to wear a mask.’


    Love is in the air is also a representation of Banksy himself; the mysterious graffiti artist, an outsider who is in a constant collision with the system, who lives in anonymity, moves in the shadows and evades vigilance with ease. By bringing street art into the gallery space, Banksy has elevated the status of graffiti art, his work is a call for peace delivered with a force no less powerful than a grenade. 

    • Provenance

      Graffik Gallery, London
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Artist Biography


      British • 1975 - N/A

      Anonymous street artist Banksy first turned to graffiti as a miserable fourteen year old disillusioned with school. Inspired by the thriving graffiti community in his home city, Bristol, Banksy's works began appearing on trains and walls in 1993, and by 2001 his blocky, spray-painted works had cropped up all over the United Kingdom. Typically crafting his images with spray paint and cardboard stencils, Banksy is able to achieve a meticulous level of detail. His aesthetic is clean and instantly readable due to his knack for reducing complex political and social statements to simple visual elements.

      His graffiti, paintings and screenprints use whimsy and humour to satirically critique war, capitalism, hypocrisy and greed — with not even the Royal family safe from his anti-establishment wit.

      View More Works


Love is in the air

signed, stamped with the artist's name and numbered 'BANKSY AP/08 ©banksy' lower right
screen print on paper
50 x 70 cm (19 5/8 x 27 1/2 in.)
Executed in 2003, this work is number 8 from 27 artist's proofs, aside from the edition of 500 of which only the first 50 are signed and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Pest Control.

Full Cataloguing

£300,000 - 500,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £315,000

Contact Specialist


Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Director, Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

+ 44 20 7318 4065



20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 16 April 2021