A trio of seascape paintings Banksy reworked in a targeted response to the refugee crisis will be on sale at Sotheby’s London this week to raise funds for a hospital in Bethlehem.
The triptych, called Mediterranean Sea View 2017, appears to be a collection of traditional seascapes – until, on closer inspection, orange life jackets washed up on the shore appear. The empty jackets symbolize the many migrants bound for Europe who drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
“Banksy is corrupting three found oil paintings with his own spiritual alterations to create something that, while masquerading as a 19th century seascape, highlights one of the burning issues of the 21st century,” said Alex Branczik, Head of Contemporary Art for Europe at Sotheby’s, in a report.
Donated by the artist himself, the canvases are estimated to sell for between £ 800,000 (around $ 1 million) and £ 1.2 million (around $ 1.5 million) at Sotheby’s.Rembrandt to Richter”Evening sale July 28.
“This triptych hangs in the galleries of Sotheby’s 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, ”added Branczik.
Refugees have been a recurring theme for Banksy, who has created a number of works of art criticizing France’s management of its Calais refugee camp. A stenciled mural of Steve Jobs at the camp was a nod to the father of Apple’s founder, a Syrian immigrant, while a Wretched-The inspired design in front of the French Embassy in London referred to the police use of tear gas to evacuate refugees from the camp.
Banksy has also done several refugee-themed works for his 2015 Dismaland dystopian theme park, including the sculpture Dream boat, drawn for the benefit of the charity Help Refugees. The materials from the disused attraction were then used to build shelters at the Calais camp.
Most recently, Banksy made waves at the 2019 Venice Biennale with an artwork painted on the city’s canals of a migrant child firing a pink rocket to attract rescuers.
Since their inception, the seascape paintings have hung above the fireplace at Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, West Bank in Jerusalem. (The fully functional hotel opened in May 2017 and prides itself on having “the worst view of any hotel in the world” of Israel’s separation wall in the West Bank.) Profits will be donated to the community, to build another acute stroke. unit and purchase rehabilitation equipment for children from the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation.
This week’s auction is not Banksy’s first charitable donation of 2020. Inspired by the tireless work of medical professionals, the anonymous street artist donated a painting of a playing child with a superhero nurse doll at Southampton General Hospital in England in May.
Currently on display in the foyer of the hospital emergency room, despite the best efforts of a potential thief, the work, titled Game changer, will be auctioned in the fall to benefit the National Health Service. With Banksy’s auction record standing at $ 12 million, experts predict it could fetch as much as $ 6 million.
Other highlights of tomorrow’s “Rembrandt to Richter” sale at Sotheby’s include one of Rembrandt van Rijn’s last self-portraits in private hands, rediscovered works by Peter Rubens and Frans Hals, and an unpublished drawing by Pablo Picasso representing the muse Marie-Thérèse Walter.
To follow Artnet news on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest news, eye-opening interviews and cutting-edge reviews that keep the conversation going.