One of the most successful British pop stars of the past three decades is putting up for auction works by one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary artists.
Robbie Williams, who has built a huge fortune from record sales and concerts, is selling three works by Banksy, the anonymous street artist whose partially shredded painting Love is in the Bin fetched a record £18.5m last year.
The pieces from Williams’s art collection – Kissing Coppers, Girl with Balloon and Vandalised Oils (Choppers) – are expected to sell for a total of between £7m and £10m.
“These works unite the cultural legacies of two of Britain’s biggest stars: Robbie Williams and Banksy,” said Hugo Cobb of Sotheby’s. “Like their creator and like their owner, they are acerbic, iconic, irreverent and unique.”
Kissing Coppers, which depicts two male British police officers in a passionate embrace, first appeared on the outside wall of the Prince Albert pub in Brighton in 2004. The original mural was removed in 2014 after being repeatedly vandalised.
It has been interpreted as showing Banksy’s support for public acceptance of homosexuality, according to Sotheby’s.
Williams’s version of the artwork is a painting on canvas from 2005, estimated to be worth £2.5m to £3.5m.
Girl with Balloon made its debut under Waterloo Bridge in London in 2002. In 2018, a canvas version of the image passed through a shredder inserted into its frame moments after it sold for just over £1m. The work’s “self-destruction” was a global sensation. Williams’s version from 2006 is depicted on metal, and is the first of its kind to appear at auction. It has a price estimate of £2m to £3m.
Vandalised Oils (Choppers), from 2005, features two military helicopters disrupting a serene pastoral landscape. It is part of a Banksy series that superimposes graffiti on classical oil paintings, and has an estimate of £2.5m to £3.5m.