Banksy is now arguably the famous living artist in the country, but being a street artist means that not much of the Bristolian’s work ever actually makes its way into collectors hands. So it’s no great surprise then that on Bonhams’ announcement that they’re putting Banksy’s ‘SWAT Van’ piece up for auction, the art world went a bit nuts!

Banksy’s ‘SWAT Van’ is Now Up for Sale

Yes, Banksy’s ‘SWAT Van’ is about to hit the open market. The van itself was formerly used by Swat teams before being showcased at Banksy’s now infamous 2006 ‘The Elephant in the Room’ exhibition which took place in LA, propelling him from underground artist to household name in the States.

Features on the van – which will go on sale in London – include heavily armed Special Forces agents being hoodwinked by a boy, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz getting caught in a storm of graffiti, and a spray-painted feature asking, ‘How’s My Bombing? Call 1-800-648-0403.’

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Such is the magnitude of the piece going up for sale, Senior Director of Bonhams’ Postwar and Contemporary Art Department, Ralph Taylor, said it was “probably the most significant piece by the artist to ever come to auction and without doubt the most ambitious”.

‘The Elephant in the Room’ exhibition, which also featured an actual painted elephant, was Banksy’s first ever show across the Atlantic. It was so high profile, the guest list on the opening night included the likes of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz and Dennis Hopper.

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The SWAT Van piece was acquired directly from the exhibition and has remained in the same collection ever since. It’s said to be in excellent condition and is rare chance for collectors to own their very own piece from a man who was listed as the 56th ‘Most Influential Person in the World’ by Time Magazine in 2010.

Banksy’s SWAT Van is due to be installed in a courtyard outside Bonhams headquarters in London ahead of the auction on Wednesday 29th June, which also includes works by Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst and Yayoi Kusama. It’s expected to reach £200,000 – £300,000. Head over to the Bonhams Website for more details.

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