Banksy Painting Sells for $1.4 Million, Immediately Shreds Itself in Front of Auction

Banksy, whom you may know as -- well, actually, you don't know anything about him, which is the point -- recently had one of his most famous paintings up for auction. The artist is generally known for his street art, so something already seems off about his work appearing in a gallery. And it only got off-er from there.

The painting -- featuring the famous image of a girl and a balloon many know him by -- was being auctioned at Sotheby's on Friday. By bidding's end, it was sold for a cool $1.4 million. Then, as the entire auction looked on, the painting shredded itself into a (highly valuable) pile of scraps.

Banksy then uploaded a video to Instagram explaining that years ago he'd installed a shredder into the frame of "Girl with Baloon" to destroy it if it ever went up for sale. He captioned the video, "'The urge to destroy is also a creative urge' - Picasso." 

It's unlikely that no one at the auction house was in on this, but judging by the expressions in the room, many were surprised. “It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” said Alex Branczik, Senior Director and Head of Contemporary Art, Europe London. Whatever else comes of this, let's please not make "Banksy-ed" a thing.

Soetheby's also notes that this "certainly marks the first time in auction history that a work of art automatically shredded itself after coming under the hammer."

h/t The Verge

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James Chrisman is a News Writer at Thrillist. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @james_chrisman2.