Take It to the Banksy: Art World’s Revered Prankster and Provocateur Leads Heritage Auctions Event

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NOLA(White Rain) from 2018 realizes $162,500 to top ‘blockbuster’ April 22 Prints & Multiples sale


DALLAS, Texas (April 23, 2021) – Heritage Auctions’ latest Prints & Multiples Signature Auction, held Thursday, fetched $1.9 million. That nearly doubled the pre-auction estimate for the 81-lot event, due in large part to the overwhelming interest in works by Banksy, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, KAWS and David Hockney, among others.

More than 500 bidders from around the globe participated in the auction, which was close to a complete sell-out.

“This was a blockbuster event filled with a who’s-who of blue-chip artists,” says Taylor Curry, the New York-based consignment director in Heritage’s Modern & Contemporary Art category. “So it’s absolutely no surprise that we saw collectors respond accordingly.”

Five works by Banksy landed in the event’s Top 10, including the auction’s top lot: a signed and numbered NOLA (White Rain), which realized $162,500, more than twice the pre-auction estimate. That’s as it should be: This 2008 work, featuring a seemingly confounded young girl holding an umbrella that brings the storm to her, is among the pseudonymous British hellraiser’s most famous and powerful works.

Three years after Hurricane Katrina, and shortly before the arrival of Hurricane Gustav, the artist spray-painted the so-called Umbrella Girl at the corner of Kerlerec and North Rampart streets in the Marigny neighborhood along the Mississippi River. She was emblematic of every New Orleanian who believed they would be protected by the levees when hurricane came, not drowned by them.

The year of her creation Banksy created a small run of prints featuring the girl being drenched by white rain. Those 289 screenprints, along with smaller colored iterations, would in short order become among his most sought-after pieces, as evidenced by Thursday’s sale.

In fact, this auction once against proved Banksy has never been more coveted among collectors.

On Thursday, 2008’s Very Little Helps realized $93,750, followed closely by 2005’s Jack and Jill (Police Kids), which fetched $87,500. And in a sale that included some of Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup cans, Banksy’s 2005 signature iteration, Soup Can (Violet/Orange/Mint), brought $81,250. Finally, Morons from 2005, his brutal shot at the auction world, realized $50,000


Pablo Picasso was well represented in this event by etchings, lithographs, aquatints and ceramics. But his top-seller Thursday was the extraordinary and oft-demanded engraved ceramic pitcher known as Taureau, or The Bull. This was executed in 1955, just nine years into Picasso’s pottery passion, which lasted the rest of his lifetime — and, as his son Claude wrote, “established his importance in the development of 20th-century art pottery.” Befitting its rarity (it was one of 100 in a series) and significance, one collector took The Bull by horns Thursday for $106,250.

The breadth of this sale, whose offerings spanned decades, meant Picasso was joined by one of the 21st Century’s brightest names and biggest stars, the man called KAWS. The former graffiti artist’s works have long been in demand at Heritage Auctions, and this auction proved no different: The seven signed, numbered and dated screenprints from 2020’s What Party?, made for a career retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum, realized $81,250; while the 10 signed, numbered and dated prints from the extremely limited-edition 2020 portfolio URGE brought $50,625.

Of the seven Warhols in this event, top honors went to the purple-pink-and-blue Turtle made in 1985 to coincide with the release of Harold Pinter’s film Turtle Diary, which realized $62,500.

Not far behind was a stunning piece by David Hockney: Untitled No. 24, an iPad drawing printed on woven paper from 2010’s The Yosemite SuiteThe work sold for $52,500 Thursday. An equally colorful and playful piece, by Keith Haring, brought $50,000: 1986’s Double Man, from Portfolio of 5 Artists in Support of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane & Company.

By the end of the event, dozens of works realized well in to the five figures – “remarkable results,” says Curry, “that further strengthen Heritage’s place in the Prints & Multiples market.”

For a complete list of results from the April 22 Prints & Multiples Signature Auction, click here.

Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.

Heritage also enjoys the highest Online traffic and dollar volume of any auction house on earth (source: SimilarWeb and Hiscox Report). The Internet’s most popular auction-house website, HA.com, has more than 1,400,000 registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of five million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.

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