The "Mariachi Player," a mural of a mariachi musician playing
a guitar and bearing the artist's signature, was stenciled with
black aerosol paint on a wall in Mexico by the artist in 2001,
Julien's Auctions said.
It said it expects the piece to fetch between $150,000 and
$200,000, the highest valuation of the five works up for
Banksy is the pseudonym of a graffiti artist who first emerged
in Bristol, England, as part of an underground group of street
artists. He hides his identity and real name, and his works are
highly sought after by art collectors.
A mural entitled "Kissing Coppers" sold for $575,000 at a Miami
auction earlier this year, while "Flower Girl," which was
painted on the side of a Los Angeles gas station, sold for
$209,000 in December.
The news of the auction comes a day after Banksy put a statement
on his official website slamming a London sale of his works. The
statement said Banksy has not given consent and has no
involvement in the sale of seven of his urban pieces.
A spokeswoman for Julien's Auctions said all the five Banksy
pieces were put up for sale by international collectors of the
artist's work. Their identities are being kept private, and the
spokeswoman said she was not sure if Banksy himself is aware of
[to top of second column]
Banksy's "Rat" stencils will also hit the auction block in June,
including the "Anarchy Rat" mural that was spray-painted onto the
walls of a military graveyard in Berlin around 2003 and 2004. The
auction house estimates it would sell for between $50,000 and
"Rapper Rat," stenciled on a piece of plywood that boarded a wall in
Bristol, is expected to sell for between $30,000 and $50,000, and "Gangsta
Rat," spray-painted onto a triangular yellow car wheel clamp,
between $20,000 and $40,000.
The final Banksy piece up for auction is the "Bomb-Hugger," a
stencil of a little girl hugging a missile with the word "NO"
painted on a piece of cardboard, valued between $3,000 and $5,000.
The piece is one of many that were handed out by the artist during
an anti-war protest in London in February 2003.
Besides the Banksy works, more than 40 pieces are expected to go on
sale in Julien's summer street art auction on June 26, including
artwork by artists such as Shepard Fairey and D*Face.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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