Banksy’s ‘Gorilla in a Pink Mask’ is put up for auction a day after his Monet pastiche sold for £7MILLION

  • The piece, Gorilla In A Pink Mask, appeared on an Eastville, Bristol, wall in 2001
  • In 2011 it was mistakenly painted over then restored, it ‘went missing’ last month
  • Now it’s revealed it was removed from Jalalabad Islamic Centre to be auctioned

An early Banksy artwork that mysteriously disappeared from the wall of a community centre in Bristol last month has been put up for auction.

The piece, Gorilla In A Pink Mask, appeared at the former social club in the elusive artist’s home city in 2001.

It was painted over in 2011 after being mistaken for graffiti by the building’s owner.

Last month, the piece was removed from the Jalalabad Islamic Centre in the Eastville area of the city by street art restoration company Exposed Walls.

The piece, Gorilla In A Pink Mask, appeared at the former social club in the elusive artist’s home city in 2001. It has now been removed to be auctioned off for charity on November 17 

Saeed Ahmed, owner of the centre, now plans to sell the 100kg piece at auction to raise funds to invest back into the Bristol community.

‘The reason for selling is because the building is falling to pieces and we wanted to safeguard the piece,’ Mr Ahmed said.

‘We are also giving money back to local charities in the Bristol area.’

The artwork, also known as Glitter Gorilla, measures 5ft (1.5m) by 2.ft 7in (0.8m) and is described by Exposed Walls as an ‘aerosol on concrete piece’ .

Saeed Ahmed, owner of the Jalalabad Islamic Centre, by the wall where Masked Gorilla, an early Banksy artwork, used to be on the side of the centre

The mystery of the missing Banksy has been solved – as the owner of an Islamic centre says it is being auctioned off. Pictured: Gorilla In A Pink Mask before it was painted over in 2011

It depicts a gorilla holding a pink masquerade mask.

A spokesman for Exposed Walls said: ‘This was a project to help furnish the mosque as well as donate money to several charities on behalf of Exposed Walls and the Jalalabad Islamic Centre.

‘It’s very important to us that the money goes back into the community.

The site of the Banksy gorilla in Eastville, Bristol after it was initially, mistakenly painted over – the paint was subsequently removed. Pictured in 2011

‘Art enriches lives and it’s a part of our mission to ensure that it is well looked after and all restoration was intricately done.’

Bids are open online for the piece, which is bring auctioned on November 17, on the Exposed Walls website.

Last year, Banksy’s piece Devolved Parliament – featuring chimps in the House of Commons – sold for £9.9 million at auction.

The work was removed last month by the street art restoration company and will be put up for auction, with proceeds going to charitable initiative. Pictured: October 2020

Banksy’s £7m Monet maker: Reclusive artist’s work parodying a Claude Monet masterpiece sells for a fortune at auction

  • Price achieved by Sotheby’s for Show Me the Monet is second highest yet for the mysterious British artist 
  • The 2005 painting transforms Monet’s Water Lily Pond into a fly-tipping spot in a parody of the painting 
  • Sotheby’s said the hammer came down after ‘five determined collectors battled for nearly nine minutes’
  • A Banksy depicting the UK’s House of Commons populated by chimpanzees fetched £9.9million last year

By Daily Mail Reporter  

An oil painting by Banksy parodying a Claude Monet masterpiece sold in London yesterday for £7.6million.

The price achieved by Sotheby’s for Show Me the Monet is the second highest yet for the mysterious British artist.

Five collectors pushed the winning bid to £7,551,600 against an expectation of between £3.5-5million.

Created in 2005, the painting transforms Monet’s A Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies into a fly-tipping spot, adding abandoned shopping trolleys and a traffic cone to the famous garden scene. 

The price achieved by Sotheby’s for Show Me the Monet (pictured) is the second highest yet for the mysterious British artist. Created in 2005, the painting adds abandoned shopping trolleys and a traffic cone to the famous garden scene

The genuine Monet – a Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies – which is one of the most famous paintings ever produced. The 1899 oil on canvas was included in a series of eighteen views of the footbridge in the French painter’s garden

Experts said it was one of the strongest and most iconic of the artist’s works to go on sale. 

The painting is the second most expensive Banksy sold at auction, after the reclusive artist’s Devolved Parliament, depicting the UK’s House of Commons populated by chimpanzees, sold for £9.9 million last year.  

On that occasion the 2009 work attracted a 13-minute battle between 10 different bidders. 

Sotheby’s said: ‘The hammer came down after five determined collectors battled for nearly nine minutes to drive the final price beyond its estimate of £3,000,000-5,000,000 to become the second highest price for the artist at auction.’

Show Me the Monet was created as part of a collection called ‘The Crude Oils’ and had first been shown publicly in only Banksy’s second gallery exhibition. 

The series also includes Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers wilting or dead in their vase, Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks confronted by an angry man in Union Jack boxer shorts and Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe re-faced with Kate Moss. 

Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s European head of contemporary art, said: ‘In one of his most important paintings, Banksy has taken Monet’s iconic depiction of the Japanese bridge in the Impressionist master’s famous garden at Giverny and transformed it into a modern-day fly-tipping spot.

‘More canal than idyllic lily pond, Banksy litters Monet’s composition with discarded shopping trollies and a fluorescent orange traffic cone.  

‘Ever prescient as a voice of protest and social dissent, here Banksy shines a light on society’s disregard for the environment in favour of the wasteful excesses of consumerism.’

Monet’s original 1899 oil on canvas was included in a series of eighteen views of the footbridge in his garden, accumulating to the completion of twelve paintings.

In 2018 Banksy’s ‘Girl With The Balloon’ partially shredded itself (pictured above) as the hammer came down at Sotheby’s, becoming the retitled ‘Love Is In The Bin’. He continues to use his art in stunts that generate huge publicity

The founder of French Impressionist painting bought a home near Giverny, Normandy, with a pond as he wanted to create something ‘for the pleasure of the eye and also for motifs to paint’, according to the Met Museum of Art.

The artist’s identity remains shrouded in mystery even as his works have begun to attract increasingly high sums at auction.

Meanwhile he continues to use his art in stunts that generate huge publicity. 

In 2018 his ‘Girl With The Balloon’ partially shredded itself as the hammer came down at Sotheby’s, becoming the retitled ‘Love Is In The Bin’. 

Banksy has become a household name since the turn of the century, after his iconic graffiti paintings began to appear overnight on buildings and at sites around the world.

The artist’s identity remains shrouded in mystery even as his works have begun to attract increasingly high sums at auction.

Meanwhile he continues to use his art in stunts that generate huge publicity.  

HOW THE MAIL ON SUNDAY NAMED BANKSY AS ROBIN GUNNINGHAM IN 2008 

After a year-long investigation by Claudia Joseph, Simon Trump, Ewan Fletcher, Adam Luck, Jason Buckner and Craig Hibbert, the Mail on Sunday named Banksy as Robin Gunningham.

The search began with a photograph taken in Jamaica showing a man in a blue shirt and jeans, with a hint of a smile on his face and a spray can at his feet. Taken in 2004, it was said to show Banksy at work. When the picture was published it appeared to be the first chink in the armour of anonymity with which the artist has shielded himself ever since his work began to attract the attention of the art world. 

Armed with this photograph, the team travelled to Bristol, long said to have been Banksy’s home city, where they made contact with a man who claimed to have once met the artist in the flesh.

Many people claimed as much, but the moment one started asking for more information, one discovered they actually ‘know someone who met Banksy’ – and the trail ran cold.

However, this man claimed not only to have met the elusive artist but was able to furnish us with a name – not the usual variations of the name Banks but one all the more intriguing.

The man in the photograph, he insisted, was formerly known as Robin Gunningham – and it didn’t require much imagination to work out how such a name could result in the nickname Banksy.

From records available to the public, they were able to glean further information.

Robin’s father, Peter Gordon Gunningham was from the Whitehall area of Bristol. His mother, Pamela Ann Dawkin-Jones was a company director’s secretary and grew up in the exclusive surroundings of Clifton.

The couple married on April 25, 1970, at Kingswood Wesley Methodist Church. On February 8, 1972, their daughter Sarah was born at Bristol Maternity Hospital, by which time Peter had been promoted to area manager for a hotel company and the couple had bought their first home, a semidetached house in Bristol.

On July 28, 1973, Robin was born in the same hospital. According to neighbours, the boy had early surgery for a cleft palette.

The images provide a behind-the-scenes look at the guerrilla artist creating some of his famous works, captured by his long-time associate – although they do not appear to capture his face

When Robin was nine, the family moved to a larger home in the same street and it is there he spent his formative years and became interested in graffiti.

A neighbour, Anthony Hallett, recalls the couple moving into the street as newlyweds and living there until 1998. They have since separated.

When they showed Mr Hallett the Jamaica photograph, he said the man in it was Robin Gunningham.

In 1984, Robin, then 11, donned a black blazer, grey trousers and striped tie to attend the renowned Bristol Cathedral School, which currently charges fees of £9,240 a year and lists supermodel Sophie Anderton as a former pupil.

It was hard to imagine Banksy, the anti-authoritarian renegade, as a public schoolboy wandering around the 17th Century former monastery, with its upper and lower quadrangles and its prayers in the ancient cathedral.

But they then found a school photograph, taken in 1989, of a bespectacled Robin Gunningham in which he shows a discernible resemblance to the man in the Jamaica photograph.

Indeed, fellow pupils remember Robin, who was in Deans House, as being a particularly gifted artist.

In the rare interviews Banksy has given (always anonymously), the artist has acknowledged that it was while at school that he first became interested in graffiti. 

Robin Gunningham left school at 16 after doing GCSEs and began dabbling in street art. 

As the investigation continued, their inquiries demonstrated again and again that the details of Robin Gunningham’s life story dovetail perfectly with the known facts about Banksy.

By 1998 Robin Gunningham was living in Easton, Bristol, with Luke Egan, who went on to exhibit with Banksy at Santa’s Ghetto, an art store which launched at Christmas 2001 in London’s West End.

Egan and Gunningham are believed to have left the house when the owner wanted to sell it.

Camilla Stacey, a curator at Bristol’s Here Gallery who bought the property in 2000, said that Banksy and Robin Gunningham are one and the same person. She knew the house had been inhabited by Banksy because of the artwork left there – and she used to get post for him in the name of Robin Gunningham.

Once the group were almost certain Banksy was Gunningham – they went searching for him and tried to see if his parents would help.

His mother Pamela lived in a neat modern bungalow in a village outside Bristol. After identifying ourselves, they asked her if she had a son called Robin.

Her reaction was very odd. They showed her the Jamaica photograph and she was visibly startled, but said she didn’t recognise the man in the photograph, to whom she bears more than a passing resemblance. They asked if she could put us in touch with him.

‘I’m afraid I don’t know how to get in contact with him,’ she said.

So she did have a son called Robin? ‘No, I don’t. I don’t have a son at all.’

They asked her if she had any other children. ‘Yes, a daughter.’

But no son and certainly not a son who went to Bristol Cathedral School?

‘No,’ she said, and went on to deny she was Pamela Gunningham, insisting that the electoral roll must be incorrect.

Their conversation with Peter Gunningham, who now lived in a gated development in the suburb of Kingsdown, was equally baffling.

Again, they presented the photograph of Banksy/Robin Gunningham. Mr Gunningham said he didn’t recognise the person in the picture. They told him that they believed his son to be Banksy. ‘No,’ he replied. ‘I can’t help you, really.’

Mr Gunningham politely continued to deny that his son was Banksy but his manner was almost playful. He refused to give them any information about Robin. It was all very strange.

Had the couple never heard of Banksy or Robin Gunningham, one might have expected a reaction of complete bewilderment. This did not seem to be the case.

They then contacted Banksy’s public relations officer who, in the best Banksy tradition, neither confirmed nor denied the story.

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