Street Art Sinks at London Auction

Street Art Sinks at London Auction
Less than a third of the 270 lots offered at a Lyon & Turnbull auction of contemporary and urban art found buyers this weekend, with works by Banksy and other street artists having particular difficulties, reports Bloomberg.

Dealers said that the reduced demand for street art was a result of worries about the economy and confusion about the authenticity of Banksy works.

"Things are difficult at the moment," said Annabel Thomas, an executive director of the London-based dealers the Fine Art Society. "There's a definite retreat to the blue-chip material."

The auction included many works priced between £1,000 and £5,000. The 74 lots that sold brought in £300,000 ($553,400), far below the pre-sale estimate of £1 million.

Only five of 20 Banksy prints sold. The artist's authentication agency, Pest Control, had refused to endorse five of those, which were instead declared authentic by a rival service, Vermin.

Another high-profile work that failed to sell was a self-portrait done in lipstick and blood by supermodel Kate Moss, with a low estimate of £30,000.

A highlight that did sell was an ink-and-chalk sketch that Lucian Freud created at age 19, which went for £22,800, beating its estimates.