Banksy’s ‘Devolved Parliament’ has sold for £9.9M at auction, setting a new world record.

Banksy – Devolved Parliament

The four-meter wide painting went up for auction at Sotheby’s in London and bidding went on for 13 minutes. It was originally listed at £1.5M. It ultimately sold for £9,879,500.

Banksy’s previously held record at auction was for his piece ‘Keep It Spotless’ which was sold at Sotheby’s in New York for £1.54M.

In reaction to the sale, Banksy posted a Robert Hughes quote on Instagram, with the caption “Record price for a Banksy painting set at auction tonight. Shame I didn’t still own it.”

Art should make us feel more clearly and more intelligently. It should give us coherent sensations that we otherwise would not have had. But the price of a work of art is now part of its function, its new job is to sit on the wall and get more expensive. Instead of being the common property of humankind the way a book is, art becomes the particular property of somebody who can afford it. Supposed that every worthwhile book in the world cost $1 million – imagine what a catastrophic effect on culture that would have.

“Devolved Parliament” depicts the houses of Parliament with chimpanzees instead of people. It is Banksy’s largest known piece, at 4 meters wide and 2.5 meters high. The painting shows a row of apes wearing aprons carrying the inscription “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge”.

The painting was first seen in 2009 as a part of the groundbreaking Banksy vs. Bristol Museum exhibition.
This record-setting auction happened almost exactly a year after Banksy’s Girl With The Balloon shredded itself at a Sotheby’s auction.
Interestingly, Pyro, a 1984 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, also sold for £9,879,500.