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Banksy ‘Hijacked’ A Painting As An SOS For The Climate, And Now It’s Worth $6.3M
By Ell Ko, 01 Jul 2021
Image via Christie’s
A 1890 painting by German-American painter Albert Bierstadt, depicting Mount Rainier of Washington State, was, according to auction house Christie’s spokesperson Sara Macdonald, “hijacked” by famously anonymous street artist Banksy in 2009.
On the bottom right corner of the painting, a warm-hued ode to the landscape surrounding the volcano at the cusp of fall, the mysterious street artist added the disclaimer “*Subject to availability for a limited period only.” The sans-serif text is a nod to corporate copy, proving a stark contrast to the Romantic-era artwork.
Aptly titled Subject to Availability, the simple action of adding a line of text speaks volumes to Banksy’s intentions: reminding us that nature, once revered by artists such as Bierstadt himself, is now a limited-time product due to the widespread effects of global warming.
Although Banksy created this work in the same year as the Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen in 2009, just over a decade ago, it still rings true today.
Which might explain the price tag—sold at a Christie’s auction at King Street, London, on Wednesday, its value was estimated between £3 and £5 million (US$4.15 to US$6.9 million). The ultimate winning bid was precisely £4,582,500 (US$6,342,180).
Banksy is no stranger to controversy and social issues. Subject to Availability isn’t his first reworked piece of art either: a similar piece titled Show Me The Monet provides the image of discarded shopping carts and an abandoned traffic cone floating in the water under Monet’s Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies. It was sold for USS$9.8 million in October 2020, at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong.
[via The Seattle Times, image via Christie's]
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