Blek le Rat - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Sunday, November 28, 2021 | Phillips

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  • "Every time I think I've painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek le Rat has done it as well. Only twenty years earlier.” — Banksy

    Born Xavier Prou, French graffiti artist Blek le Rat is known as the ‘father of stencil graffiti’ and was one of the trailblazers of street art. He has been cited as an inspiration by artists all over the world, including Shepard Fairey and Banksy.



    The artist’s work at Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin
    Photo Sybille Prou © Blek le Rat


    Choosing a pseudonym based on the comic book Blek le Rat, which followed the adventures of a fur trader in the USA fighting against the invading British army during the Boston Tea Party era, Blek substituted the last word for ‘rat’ as an anagram of ‘art’ and in honour of his preferred subject, describing it as ‘the only free animal in the city’ which ‘spreads the plague everywhere, just like street art’.i Blek began his career stencilling rats on the streets of Paris, and then little by little ventured further afield – all over France, then Germany, Spain, Italy, London, New York and beyond. With a strong sense of social duty, Blek’s work has shone a light on conditions out on the street, in particular homelessness:

    “What’s written on the walls reflects the society that lives in the city. [It] evokes the city. People write, paint, express their passions, their anger, their love, their fear of dying, on the walls.”  — Blek le Rat

    Blek has expressed preference for the streets over galleries, stating that the integrity of an artist’s work lies in its ability to be seen by as many people as possible, not to be sold or placed in a museum. 'Its absolutely incredible having a really good piece in the street - the day after it is complete thousands and thousands of people have seen it,' Blek explained, 'it’s very important to be in the street, but also very important for artists to show different work in the gallery.'ii


    Fellow street artist Shepard Fairey, who designed President Obama's iconic 'Hope' poster, has said of his work: 'Blek le Rat's stencils distill the essence of the human struggle into poetically concise images.'





    i Blek le Rat as quoted in Jon Reiss, ‘Blek le Rat’, Swindle, 1 January 2007, online 

    ii Blek le Rat as quoted in Natalie Robehmed, ‘Forget Banksy: Meet Blek Le Rat, The Father Of Stencil Graffiti’, Forbes, 20 October 2014, online

    • Provenance

      3 Punts Galería, Barcelona
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

Property from the Collection of Ruey Hsiu Lou


Pied Piper

signed 'Blek Le Rat' lower right; stencilled with the artist's name on the reverse
mixed media on canvas
162 x 130 cm. (63 3/4 x 51 1/8 in.)
Executed in 2009, this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by 3 Punts Galería.

Full Cataloguing

HK$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for HK$126,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 29 November 2021