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  • Provenance

    Pest Control, London
    Private Collection, London (acquired from the above)
    Phillips, London, 12 February 2015, lot 24
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    The elusive figure of Banksy, whose recognisable works have captured the attention of a worldwide audience, shrouds his works in a veil of anonymity that drives his international popularity. This carefully concealed selfhood allows Banksy, incognito, to continue to create his boundary-pushing works, loaded with an underlying social and political commentary. With roots in the Bristol underground movement, his distinctive use of the stencil was adapted out of necessity by the artist during his youth as a means of efficiently finishing works, unnoticed, in public spaces. Executing works both in public spaces and in the studio, Banksy effortlessly negotiates between the worlds of street and fine art.

    This fusion of genres is exemplified in Angel, an image of the Holy Virgin created in Banksy’s signature stencil style. This recognisable motif immediately recalls countless art historical images of the Ascension created by Western artists during the 15th to 17th centuries. This strong art historical reference, rendered in spray paint as opposed to oil paints, establishes a dialogue between the dichotomy of street and fine art. Furthermore, Angel is also typically imbued with a poignant social commentary; this particular stencil has appeared before in Banksy’s oeuvre - a work featuring the same image of the Holy Virgin appeared in Naples at the Piazza dei Girolamini, and has locally become known as the ‘Napoli Angel’ or the ‘Madonna con Pistol.’ In this instance, the Virgin is depicted in her assent towards an iconised pistol, with potent, blood-red droplets on her monochromatic chest indicative of a gunshot wound, arguably signalling a problem with the glorification of crime in the area.

    In this sense, Banksy’s bleeding angel displays his mission: the anarchic and turbulence of the street is represented in the glaring wound, puncturing the heart of the angel motif, an image which represents sanctified, classical art history. Satirical and engaged, as well as technically accomplished, Angel attests to Banksy’s global reputation as one of the most prolific and intriguing artists of our time.

  • Artist Biography

    Banksy

    British • 1974

    Anonymous street artist Banksy first turned to graffiti as a disillusioned youth. Inspired by the thriving graffiti community in his home city, Bristol, Banksy's works began appearing on trains and city streets in 1993, and by 2001, his signature, stenciled works had cropped up across the United Kingdom. Typically crafting his images with spray paint and cardboard stencils, Banksy is able to achieve a meticulous level of detail. His clean and immediately comprehensible aesthetic is a result of his unique ability to distill complex political and social statements into simple visual elements.  

    Through whimsy and humor, his graffiti works, paintings, and screenprints satirically critique war, capitalism, hypocrisy and greed. His anti-establishment wit has had an undeniable impact on today’s contemporary street culture.

    View More Works

172A

Angel

stencilled 'BANKSY' on the frame edge
spray paint on perforated galvanised steel mesh, in artist's frame
125.5 x 155 cm (49 3/8 x 61 in.)
Executed in 2009, this work is unique and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Pest Control.

Estimate
£200,000 - 300,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £393,000

Contact Specialist
Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4065
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 26 June 2018