MIAMI (CBS4) – A pair of murals by secretive graffiti artist Banksy which were supposed to be auctioned off Saturday by Fine Art Auctions Miami were pulled from sale at the last minute.
“I sat through the whole thing just waiting, and I thought, ‘Oh they are just saving the best for last’,” said art lover Stephanie Turk.
But Turk and other art lovers at the auction later found out that was not the case and that two works of art, Slave Labor and Wet Dog, by renown, by the anonymous street artist known only as Banksy were no longer up for auction.
“I know it was a legal auction but perhaps there were some other issues,” said Turk.
The owner of the auction house would not comment on the official reason the art was taken off the auction block. But art collectors speculate it had to do with the fact the Banksy originals were ripped from a wall in London and were only intended to make a statement, not a profit.
Banksy is well known for his public and often controversial art – art that is typically not for sale. But had his work been auctioned off Saturday, the bidding for Slave Labor was expected to start at $400,000.
“It’s the same as if someone would go down to the Freedom Tower and take a corner off and try to sell it as an architectural sale, you just can’t do that,” said art collector Jeff Gelblum.
In a statement from Fine Art Auctions Miami, the company denied there was any impropriety.
“Although there are no legal issues whatsoever regarding the sale of lots 6 and 7 by Banksy, FAAM convinced its consignors to withdraw these lots from the auction and take back the power of authority of these works. ”