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Banksy donates migrant crisis paintings worth up to £1.2m to charity sale

The works have been on display in the reclusive artist’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem.

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Mediterranean Sea View 2017 is to go under the hammer on July 28 (Sotheby’s/PA)

Mediterranean Sea View 2017 is to go under the hammer on July 28 (Sotheby’s/PA)

Mediterranean Sea View 2017 is to go under the hammer on July 28 (Sotheby’s/PA)

Banksy has donated a triptych of paintings referencing the European migrant crisis to a charity auction raising money for a hospital in Bethlehem.

Titled Mediterranean Sea View 2017, the works are estimated to sell for between £800,000 and £1.2 million.

The reclusive artist took 19th century-style Romantic seascapes and added abandoned lifejackets and buoys in reference to the deaths of migrants travelling to the European Union during the 2010s.

The triptych of framed oil paintings were created for Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, where they have hung since its opening in 2017.

The hotel, which overlooks the West Bank wall dividing Bethlehem, bills itself as having “the worst view of any hotel in the world” and is filled with original Banksy artwork.

The piece will feature in Sotheby’s Rembrandt to Richter cross-category evening sale on July 28.

Proceeds will be used to help build a new acute stroke unit and purchase children’s rehabilitation equipment for Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation.

Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art for Europe, said: “In Mediterranean Sea View 2017, Banksy corrupts three found oil paintings with his own witty reworkings to create something that, while posing as a 19th-century seascape, spotlights one of the burning issues of the 21st century.

“In Rembrandt to Richter, this triptych hangs in Sotheby’s galleries alongside works by some of history’s greatest landscape painters, including Bellotto, Van Goyen and Turner.

“Banksy’s work, however, stands alone for its potent political message.”

Banksy’s latest stunt saw the artist graffiti the inside of a London Underground train carriage with messages about the spread of coronavirus.

PA