Banksy artwork shreds itself after £1m sale at Sotheby's

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Banksy's Girl With Red Balloon mysteriously shreds after its sale Image copyright Sotheby's
Image caption Banksy's Girl With Red Balloon "self-destructed" after it was sold at auction

A stencil spray painting by elusive artist Banksy shredded itself after it was sold for more than £1m.

Girl With Balloon, one of Banksy's most widely recognised works, was auctioned by Sotheby's in London.

The framed piece shows a girl reaching towards a heart-shaped balloon and was the final work sold at the auction.

However, in a twist to be expected from street art's most subversive character, the canvas suddenly passed through a shredder installed in the frame.

Posting a picture of the moment on Instagram, Banksy wrote: "Going, going, gone..."

The 2006 piece was shown dangling in pieces from the bottom of the frame, after it sold for £1.042m on Friday night.

"It appears we just got Banksy-ed," said Alex Branczik, Sotheby's senior director and head of contemporary art in Europe.

Banksy is a Bristol-born artist whose true identity - despite rampant speculation - has never been officially revealed.

He came to prominence through a series of graffiti pieces that appeared on buildings across the country, marked by deeply satirical undertones.

Friday's self-destruction was the latest in a long history of anti-establishment statements by the street artist.

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Other recent works included the opening of Dismaland, his dystopian, Disneyland-esque theme park in 2015, which he described as a "family theme park unsuitable for children".

Girl With Balloon originally appeared on a wall in Great Eastern Street, London.

In 2017 it was voted the nation's favourite artwork.

The gallery version featured spray paint and acrylic on canvas, mounted on a board.

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