In a statement on Sotheby’s website Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s senior director and head of contemporary art Europe, said:
“It appears we just got Banksy-ed.”
The picture automatically shredded itself in the frame it was hanging in moments after coming under the hammer for £1.04m (including buyer’s premium) at the evening auction in London.
Banksy posted a video of the prank on Instagram showing the construction of the shredder inside the frame. Some art market commentators speculated that the stunt would actually increase the value of the artwork because of its notoriety.
The Sotheby’s sale was led by Jenny Saville's monumental work Propped, which established a new auction record for a living female artist. The evening contemporary art auction brought a combined total of £68.7m.