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Banksy graffiti artworks removed from walls are displayed ahead of sale

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 24, 2014

By Robert Dex

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A selection of street art by anonymous graffiti artist Banksy removed from walls around the country has gone on show ahead of an auction later this week.

The work, including a giant rat painted on the wall of a Liverpool pub and a stencil of a girl with a balloon from an east London wall, are being shown at a central London hotel before being sold at an online auction or via sealed bids on Sunday.

The Sincura Group, who removed the work and organised the exhibition and auction, said it only removed work after being approached by building owners.

It said the presence of a work by the mysterious artist on a building often left owners with “the very real risk of having a grade 2 listing applied to their premises which seriously affects their business operations and resale value”.

They added: “Though loved by the public, these Banksys are often a liability to the building owners.”

Among the work being auctioned is a painting originally done on the side of a lorry at the Glastonbury Festival.

Earlier this year, one of the artist’s most famous works sold at auction in the US after being removed from the wall of a Brighton pub.

Kissing Coppers, a life-size black and white graffiti work of two policemen kissing, was sold to an anonymous buyer in Miami for for 575,000 dollars (£345,000).

It was spray-painted on the side of the Prince Albert pub in Trafalgar Street near Brighton city centre in 2004.

Will Ellsworth-Jones, the author of Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall, said it was ``fascinating'' to see the works gathered together in one place.

He said Banksy’s anonymity was part of his art, saying: “Originally he had to be anonymous because he’d get arrested, now I think people would be embarrassed if they arrested him and it helps him market the art”.

But Mr Ellsworth-Jones said the artist would not be impressed with the sale, saying: “He would much prefer the art if necessary to be destroyed rather than taken off and sold like this”.

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