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Iconic Banksy Work Becomes The Most Expensive Sold In NZ

One of the most powerful and provocative images by British street artist Banksy, has become the most expensive work by Banksy to be sold in New Zealand.

Love Is In The Air was originally predicted to bring between $150,000 and $250,000 at a sale of Important and Rare Art at the International Art Centre in Parnell, Auckland, tonight (Nov 17). It sold for $309,000 after spirited bidding including international bids on the internet.

It was one of eight Banksy works offered at the sale which included works by many of New Zealand’s most recognised and revered artists. All the Banksy works were accompanied by Certificates of Authenticity from Pest Control Office, the organisation established by Banksy to authenticate his work.

Love is in the Air shows a protestor wearing a baseball cap and a bandana throwing a bunch of flowers as a universal symbol of peace and love, rather than a molotov cocktail or grenade.

It first appeared in 2003 as stencilled graffiti in Jerusalem soon after the construction of the West Bank wall separating Palestine from Israel.

International Art Centre director Richard Thomson said Love is in the Air was considered one of Banksy’s most iconic, powerful and sought-after works.

“The Banksy protestor has become the poster boy of the peace movement and has been reproduced on posters, tee-shirts, phone covers and other merchandise material all around the world.”

Banksy has never been publicly identified but Mr Thomson said he has become the most sought-after contemporary artist in the world and had an ability to create some of the most disturbing yet subtle and compelling images of the world’s trouble spots.

“Banksy is a modern-art phenomenon. There has been nothing quite like him and his message resonates like no other artist or contemporary critic.”

The seven other Banksy works in the sale all sold after robust bidding, including Laugh Now which sold for $157,000 after a bidding war from 36 bidders, including many outside New Zealand.

Jack and Jill – Police Kids was expected to bring up to $75,000. It sold for $117,500. Monkey Queen sold for $105,000 after it was expected to bring up to $40,000.

The eight Banksy prints represented the largest sale of Banksy works in Australia or New Zealand and included Soup Can which was sent from Australia by its Sydney owner for the sale. Soup Can is a play on Andy Warhol's infamous pop art Campbell's Soup Cans. It sold for $87,800, below its predicted price of up to $100,000.

The sale also featured two works by one of New Zealand’s most recognised artists, Charles Frederick Goldie.

Harieta Huirua - A Chieftainess of the Tuhourangi Tribe sold for $521,000 after an earlier prediction of between $350,000 and $450,000.

The other Goldie, Tumai Tawhiti, Chieftain of Ngati Raukawa, Te Arawa, sold for $309,000. It was predicted to bring up to $350,000.

© Scoop Media

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