An iconic piece of Banksy art has self destructed minutes after it was sold for $NZ1.9 million at auction.

According to The Art Newspaper, a copy of Banksy's 2006 "Girl with Balloon" painting was sold at a Sotheby's auction on October 5.

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Going, going, gone...

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

However, right after the $NZ1.94 million (£953,829) bid was called, an alarm sounded inside the frame and the painting started to shred to pieces in front of surprised onlookers.

"It appears we just got Banksy-ed!" Alex Branczik, the head of contemporary art, Europe said.


Branczik said Sotheby's auction house was not in on the prank.

"He is arguably the greatest British street artist, and tonight we saw a little piece of Banksy genius," he said.

"We are busy figuring out what this means in an auction context.

"The shredding is now part of the integral art work. We have not experienced a situation where a painting has spontaneously shredded, upon achieving a record for the artist."

Banksy's Instagram account shared a photo of the shredded painting with the caption "going, going, gone …"

A photo of the destroyed Banksy art. Photo / Instagram
A photo of the destroyed Banksy art. Photo / Instagram

The move has also been praised as "genius" by fans.

The Financial Times reported the vendor selling the piece had acquired it from the anonymous artist himself.

It's been pointed out that the stunt would have required Banksy or someone working for the artist to be in the room to activate the shredder.

"A man dressed in black sporting sunglasses and a hat was seen scuffling with security guards near the entrance to Sotheby's shortly after the incident," The Art Newspaper claimed.

It's unclear what will happen to the artwork from here but Branczik said it's possible that it was more valuable now.

"It's certainly the first piece to be spontaneously shredded as an auction ends," he said.