Banksy painting thanking British nurses sells for record $23M at auction

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March 23 (UPI) — A Banksy painting honoring nurses treating COVID-19 patients set a new record for the artist in a London auction benefiting British health charities, Christie’s announced Tuesday.

Game Changer — a painting of a young boy shirking his Batman and Spider-Man toys to play with a cape-clad nurse action figure — sold for more than $ 23.18 million. It nearly doubled the previous auction record of $ 12.21 million for a Banksy painting — Devolved Parliament sold in October 2019.

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“It has been a great privilege to work on the sale of Game Changer,” said Katharine Arnold, co-head of Christie’s post-war and contemporary art, Europe. “On a day of national reflection, marking one year since the first lock down in Britain and with so many lives lost around the world, it feels very meaningful to have raised $ 23,176,314.”

The painting appeared May 6 inside University Hospital Southampton amid the height of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was accompanied by a note that read: “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.”

A copy of the painting remains at the hospital, and through Southampton Hospitals Charity, the original was sold to benefit a variety of charitable efforts.

“This incredible gift will be invaluable in helping us to focus on promoting and protecting the welfare of our staff as they heal and recover from the last year,” said David French, interim CEO at the hospital. “As a charitable gift it ensures our staff have a say in how money is spent to benefit them, our patients and our community and is a fantastic way to thank and reward them for the sacrifices they’ve made.”

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National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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