In a screengrab of a conversation with the artist, he said: "I don't charge people to see my art unless there's a fairground wheel", in reference to his dystopic amusement park Dismaland, which he opened to the public for a fee in Weston-super-mare in 2015.
The elusive world-famous British street artist Banksy has reportedly pulled off one of the greatest art heists, allowing his own painting to self-destruct, just moments after "Girl with a Balloon" had fetched over £1mn at auction.
Bidders looked shocked as the piece was torn to shred by a shredder built into the gold frame.
Alex Branczik, one of the bosses at Sotheby's, the shop where the painting was sold, said "It appears we just got Banksy-ed".
"Girl with a Balloon" (2006) was the final lot of the evening sale at Sotheby's and ended things off with an impressive final price of £953,829 (~$1,251,423), or £1,042,000 with buyer's premium (~$1,367,104).
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He claimed he had no idea the artwork was going to be destroyed. "You could argue that the work is now more valuable", Branczik said.
Banksy posted a photograph of the moment on his official Instagram account, captioning it: "Going, going, gone..." The spray paint and acrylic on canvas that was mounted on board depicted a small girl in black and white reaching out towards a red, heart-shaped balloon attached to a string.
Banksy is a Bristol-born artist whose true identity - despite rampant speculation - has never been officially revealed.
He rose to fame with graffiti that appeared on buildings across the United Kingdom, often marked by deeply satirical undertones.