Against an estimate of £10,000-15,000, the print was hammered down at £55,000 (plus 25% buyer’s premium) at Forum Auctions’ Only Banksy sale on January 27.
Banksy first showed Morons, a satirical take on the contemporary art market, in 2006 and this edition is a 2007 screen print in colour (one of a numbered edition of 150) published by Pictures on Walls.
It is believed Banksy based his picture on a photograph of Hindlip selling Vincent van Gogh’s Still Life: Vase With 15 Sunflowers on March 30, 1987, at Christie’s in London for £22m.
Hindlip worked at Christie’s from 1964-2002 and became chairman of Christie Manson & Woods and chairman of Christie’s International during his tenure. He was a member of the House of Lords between 1993-99 and has four children, including TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp.
This Banksy sale notched up a hammer total of £1,663,000 and is Forum’s fifth auction dedicated exclusively to numbered editions by Banksy. The firm, now celebrating its fifth year in business, enjoyed a healthy rise in prints sales last year, more than doubling its turnover in this category to £7.7m, which accounted for roughly half its annual total hammer volume.
“By our calculations, the London auction market for prints grew 8.7% to £31.8m in 2020,” says Forum CEO Stephan Ludwig. “Our realisations pleasingly represented a record 24% market share.”