Art The story of Banksy’s lost mural that will go to auction
ArtBanksystreet art

The story of Banksy’s lost mural that will go to auction

Giorgia Massari
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After the auction at Julien’s of Banksy’s work Crazy Horse, another piece of the Bristol street artist will soon be auctioned off. It is a work with a particular story that we will tell you only after having given you some more specifics. The work is titled Holywell Row Happy Helicopters and will be presented on 15, 16 and 18 March by the auction house Spring Country House & Fine Interiors of Anderson & Garland. The estimated price ranges from £500,000 to £700,000, reflecting on the one hand its historical importance and on the other confirming the enduring market of Banksy’s art. Let’s find out more about this work, which was literally torn from the wall of a London building.

Banksy’s mural emerges from the darkness

In the pages of Banksy’s artistic history, Holywell Row Happy Helicopters stands out for its singular history. The wall work in question was made by the artist in 2006, on the facade of an office building in Shoreditch, a district of the East End of London. From the very beginning, as is often the case with every urban intervention by Banksy, the work became very popular, attracting a large crowd every day outside the building. The constant flow of people made the security lights of the building turn on, creating great inconvenience for the normal performance of the work to the point that the owner decided to cover the mural with black paint, so as to hide it. Bansky’s work remained hidden until the arrival of the new owner who, once discovered the presence – albeit hidden – of the wall, began a restoration project aimed at removing the plaster layer.

Banksy, Holywell Row Happy Helicopters. Image courtesy of Anderson & Garland

From restoration not too simple to auction

After a far from easy job, Holywell Row Happy Helicopters emerged from the darkness. The task was entrusted to the Fine Art Restoration Company, which worked over a year to eliminate the layer of plaster, a good 3 centimeters. The complexity of the process is derived from the unconventional nature of the materials used for its creation, making the operation a genuine challenge. Similarly, the next stage, which was the removal of the wall from the building, was not without its difficulties. In the end, the experts opted for the least risky choice, which was to cut the wall into eight parts, allowing it to be safely removed from the building. The result is a one-meter-high and almost two-meter-wide work, depicting three imposing Apache helicopters adorned with cheerful pink bows, a recurring motif in Banksy’s vast work. Now we just have to wait to see who will win the piece and how much will be beaten at the auction.

Read also: L’ultimo Banksy a New York

ArtBanksystreet art
Written by Giorgia Massari
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