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Banksy's satirical oil painting depicting the House of Commons filled with chimpanzees sold at auction in London for a record-breaking price, setting art enthusiasts alight.
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The painting entitled “Devoted Parliament,” by the British artist whose identity remains famously unknown smashed its pre-sale estimate escalating to a final sale price of 9,879,500 British pounds, equivalent to $12.2 million, according to Sotheby’s.
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The monumental work of art was created in 2009 and is said to bring "premonitory insight into the increasingly tumultuous face of politics in contemporary Britain," according to Sotheby's. The well-known artwork replaces debating members of Parliament with chimpanzees sitting amongst a scene occupied by madness and mayhem.
The sheer size of the piece spans thirteen feet in length, marking the largest-known canvas by the elusive street artist whose "subversive practice has granted him a reputation of infamy as much as world renown."
The work of art sparked a 13-minute bidding battle on the phones and in the room at the Contemporary Art Evening Auction, though the canvas had made headlines around the world before its appearance in the London galleries.
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It was first exhibited in the Banksy versus Bristol Museum exhibition, which took place at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery in 2009. The exhibit attracted over 300,000 visitors, according to Sotheby's.
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Banksy, who has never disclosed his full identity, began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England, and has become one of the world’s best-known artists.
His mischievous and often satirical images include two policemen kissing, armed riot police with yellow smiley faces and a chimpanzee with a sign bearing the words “Laugh now, but one day I’ll be in charge.”
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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