Banksy’s superhero nurse sells for record £16.7m for NHS charity

Artwork appeared at Southampton general hospital out of the blue last May

Ellie Harrison
Wednesday 24 March 2021 15:35
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Banksy’s painting of a little boy chucking out his Batman and Spider-Man action figures and choosing one of a caped superhero nurse has sold for a world-record price of £16.7m.

On Tuesday (23 March), the painting sold with all profits going to Southampton Hospitals Charity and distributed to a wider community of healthcare providers who support the NHS. Auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen said Banksy’s pledge to donate the proceeds to the NHS was “an incredible gesture” and described the sale as a “historic moment”.

The artwork, titled “Game Changer”, was made as a thank you to the NHS and was delivered out of the blue to Southampton general hospital at the height of the last lockdown in May 2020.

It appeared with a note attached, that said: “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.”

Banksy’s painting hung in a corridor, giving staff a daily morale boost. It has now been replaced with a reproduction to allow the sale of the original canvas at Christie’s.

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Estimates for the sale of the painting had been at around £2.5m-3.5m. The hammer eventually came down at £14.4m and, after fees, the figure rose to £16.7m.

The price beat the previous record for a Bansky auction, which saw his “Devolved Parliament” artwork featuring politicians as MPs sell for £9.9m in 2019.

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