London Street-Art Auction Disappoints

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The New York Sun

Works by Banksy and other graffiti painters failed to sell in London Saturday as buyers stayed away from an auction of Contemporary and urban art.

Less than a third of the 270 lots found buyers at Lyon & Turnbull’s sale, which was the latest gauge of demand for street art after prices surged to records in the last three years. Dealers said demand, reduced by worries about the economy and confusion about the authentication of Banksy’s pictures, may be an ominous sign for the mainstream art market.

“Things are difficult at the moment,” said Annabel Thomas, an executive director at the London-based dealers The Fine Art Society, who attended the auction. “There’s a definite retreat to the blue-chip material.”

The 74 lots sold went for $553,400 with fees, said the Edinburgh-based auction company, which held the event in a decommissioned 19th-century church on Marylebone Road. The presale estimate was at least $2 million.

The auction included many items priced in the $2,000 to $10,000 range.

“Everything was well priced and interesting,” said Ben Hanly, the auction company’s Modern and Contemporary-art specialist. “But the timing of the sale was difficult. There’s a simple lack of cash at the moment. The market’s not good.”

The New York Sun

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