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3 Banksy works expected to fetch up to $1.6M at auction
New York • Three works by the elusive British street artist Banksy, including two that had to be removed from the sides of buildings, are going to a Miami auction where each is expected to bring hundreds of thousands of dollars.
They are being offered by a New York City art dealer on Tuesday night at the Fine Art Auctions Miami.
"Bandaged Heart," which was spray-painted on the side of a Brooklyn warehouse, was removed by a team of specialists shortly after it was completed during Banksy's self-proclaimed New York City residency in the fall, said Stephan Keszler, the owner of Keszler Gallery in Manhattan and Southampton who purchased the work.
In an interview Tuesday, he said he paid to have the 8-foot-by-11-foot hole left behind sealed up. He declined to say how much he paid for the 1,500-pound chunk of art, saying only: "Less than I will sell it for."
"Bandaged Heart," an image of a heart-shaped balloon covered in Band-Aids, has a pre-sale estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. Soon after it went up, the work was immediately "tagged" (a la aerosol art-style) by another graffiti artist. It's believed Banksy then added the words "is a jealous little" afterward.
Keszler also owns the other two Banksy works in the sale.
"Kissing Coppers," a black-and-white stencil of two uniformed English "bobbies" (police officers) in a passionate clinch, was spray-painted in 2005 on the Prince Albert Pub in Brighton, England, and is expected to sell for $500,000 to $700,000.
The stencil reportedly was lifted and transferred to a canvas before the pub sold it to Keszler.
Another work created during Banksy's New York residency, "Crazy Horse Car Door," is estimated to bring $200,000 to $300,000. It is a rear door of a Manhattan car spray-painted with a scene depicting a struggling, Herculean figure surrounded by running horses.
In the last three years, Keszler said, he has sold 11 original works by the street artist, including "Banksy Slave Labor (Bunting Boy)," which sold for $1.1 million in London to a U.S. collector.
Asked if he worries about selling art by someone whose identity remains a mystery, Keszler quipped: "He knows who we are."
Banksy, who refuses to reveal his full identity, began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England. During his monthlong stint in New York in October, Banksy put pictures of his work on his website containing clues on their locations but nothing precise. That spawned a hunt by fans who tracked down the works, shared locations via social media, then swarmed to see them.
Keszler said he decided to get into selling street art "because no one else is doing it. It's a very good niche."