A controversial Banksy bronze sculpture called The Drinker, which has already been “stolen” twice, is to appear in a Sotheby’s London auction on November 19. Sotheby’s has valued the mixed media sculpture between £750,000 and £1,000,000 ($966,000 – $1.3 m).
The sculpture first appeared without any prior fanfare in London’s Shaftesbury Avenue in 2004, standing – read sitting – at a height of just over two metres and weighing three tonnes. The Drinker sat on a plinth unattached, which bore the trademark Banksy signature. It was “stolen” soon after by Art Kieda, a group led by guerrilla artist AK47.
Later, it is understood to have found its way into the hands of Banksy himself and of Steve Lazirides – once Banksy’s manager – who then issued the sculpture with a certificate of authenticity.
As the name suggests, The Drinker is a mocking reworking of Auguste Rodin’s famous 1910 work, The Thinker. Banksy, the notorious street artist, has just set a new personal auction record with his largest canvas to date – Devolved Parliament. It sold for £9.9m at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening auction last month.
Bidding for The Drinker through the Sotheby’s website begins at minimum price £550,000.