Banksy donates migrant crisis paintings worth up to £1.2m to charity sale

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Banksy has donated a triptych of paintings referencing the European migrant crisis to a charity auction to raise money for a hospital in Bethlehem.

Titled Mediterranean Sea View 2017, the works are estimated between £800,000 and £1.2 million.

The reclusive artist took romantic 19th-century-style seascapes and added abandoned life jackets and buoys in reference to the deaths of migrants traveling to the European Union during the 2010s.

The triptych of framed oil paintings was created for Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, where they have hung since it opened in 2017.

The hotel, which overlooks the West Bank wall dividing Bethlehem, bills itself as having “the worst view of any hotel in the world” and is filled with original Banksy artwork.

The piece will feature in Sotheby’s Rembrandt’s Cross-Category Evening Sale at Richter on July 28.

Proceeds will be used to build a new acute stroke unit and purchase rehabilitation equipment for children for the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation.

Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s Head of Contemporary Art for Europe, said: “In Mediterranean Sea View 2017, Banksy corrupts three found oil paintings with his own witty reworkings to create something that, while by pretending to be a 19th century seascape, highlights one of the challenges of the 21st century.

“From Rembrandt to Richter, this triptych hangs in Sotheby’s galleries alongside works by some of history’s greatest landscape painters, including Bellotto, Van Goyen and Turner.

“Banksy’s work, however, stands alone for its powerful political message.”

Banksy’s latest stunt saw the graffiti artist inside a London Underground carriage with messages about the spread of coronavirus.

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