Remember when Banksy purchased a $50 landscape painting from a New York City thrift store, added a Nazi to the placid scene, and then dropped the artwork back off where he found it? Remember how that bizarre chain of events led to a buzzed-about online auction, in which one very lucky (and very anonymous) bidder managed to snag the painting for a piddly $615,000?
Well, it turns out that pesky anonymous bidder, or "gorpetri" as he's known on the auction site Bidding for Good, defaulted on his bid, abandoning the "The Banality of the Banality of Evil" painting and turning the charity event into a source of speculation.
According to The New York Times, gorpetri immediately bailed on his $615,000 bid, leaving the thrift store Housing Works in a lurch. In an attempt to right the auction wrong, the charity organization reached out to the second bidder, art collector Rachel Hirschfeld, who placed a $614,800 bid for the painting. Hirschfeld, however, was nonplussed at the idea of paying a price potentially elevated by the actions of an irresponsible bidder. “Every bid that he made has to be out,” she replied.
Housing Works didn't stop with Hirschfeld. Representatives reached out to to "all the top qualified bidders" who offered to pay more than $500,4000, reports Talking Points Memo, using a fax-machine based method of weighing new bids. Eventually, the painting was sold to another anonymous buyer in a deal sealed last week. The total price was not disclosed.
"We were happy with the [second] sale," Housing Works COO Matthew Bernardo told The Times. "We were happy with the process which we closed with, and it’s at a very good home."
The other bidders, however, remain less than pleased. "I think they used my fax to bid [another] person higher. I felt very used," Hirschfel added to The Times. "Perhaps Banksy himself had bid up the sale."