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Banksy's sculpture "The drinker" (2004) has a very mysterious story behind a very ironic title! Inspired by the famous Rodin’s 'The Thinker', this work was first installed in 2004 at Shaftesbury Avenue square (London). During these days Sotheby's London was ready to sell the satirical sculpture with an estimate of £750,000 - £1 million ($970,950 to $1.29 million) but on the eve of the sale (November 19), another artist came forward claiming to be the rightful owner of the work. 

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His name is Adam Link (also known as AK47) and he is the leader of the art movement called Art Kieda. An artist, already renowned for the theft of Banksy's monument (London), claims that sculpture was stolen from his property 2 years ago. So while Sotheby’s was ready to curate the sale, after almost 15 years Link reclaimed his property. In his witness to the Guardian Link tells that he found this sculpture “abandoned” on the street and he soon registered it with police.

 

Self-proclaimed British ‘art-terrorist’ and leader of an art movement called ‘Art Kieda’ or ‘AK47’,
Andy Link, poses for a photograph after re-installing a version of Banksy’s sculpture entitled
“The Drinker.” Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images.

 

Then, after the theft, he asked Bansky for a ransom of 6.500 pounds or an original canvas to cover his expenses. Link told the Guardian: “I did the right thing, and reported it to the police. I do not understand how Sotheby’s can sell this when I have such proof.” However, Link says that he cannot afford the lawyer’s fees to challenge the sale.

In the history of the lot from 2004 to 2014, the property was attributed only to the artist and his famous art dealer Steven Lazarides. In other words, nobody mentioned Link. 
In a conversation with The Art Newspaper Lazarides commented on Link's reaction as “crying that the bigger boys have stolen his ball.” (He also described the work as “the worst sculpture [Banksy] ever made.”)

The representative of Banksy did not leave any comment, but Sotheby's told Artnet News that it is “satisfied that the seller has a legal right to put the piece up for auction.” The auction house also noted it had contacted both the Met Police and the Art Loss Register before offering the work for sale. (Artnet)

Cover image: Banksy's The Drinker (2004). Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.

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