British Cool at Bonhams: That’s why Brexit is a banana!

Not only a new type of ice cream received the label “Cool Britannia” in the mid-1990s. Back then, the catchphrase generally became a self-fulfilling prophecy: Suddenly, every cultural phenomenon that arose within a 20 mile radius of Piccadilly Circus was considered hip. It was also during this period that an unknown sprayer crept through the streets of London and left remarkable pictures on the walls. Banksy was supposedly his name. The London auction house Bonhams is now auctioning its medium-sized screen print “Girl with Balloon” (2004) from an edition of 600 in the “British. Cool. ”On February 25th at a proud estimate of 120,000 to 170,000 euros. Oh well

The 2004 screen-printed version of Banksy’s “Girl with Balloon” is estimated at £ 100,000 to £ 150,000. © Bonhams

Banksy’s “Pulp Fiction” motif is less famous and sought after internationally, although it was once one of his most visible: in 2002, the stencil sprayer illegally installed it on a facade above the roundabout on Old Street – one of East London’s most important transport hubs. After all, the image remained intact for five years, showing all passers-by how to play the decisive trump card in the image competition: Banksy gave the actually cool killers from the legendary film “Pulp Fiction” (1994) by US director Quentin Tarantino instead of pistols two bananas in my hands and ridiculing them a little. A medium-sized screen print of the motif from an edition of 600 from 2004 is now valued at 46,000 to 69,000 euros.

It would be wrong to believe that “Cool Britannia” found its inspiration solely in America. In the 1990s, many successful cultural phenomena were home-grown youngsters: The export hits “made in Britain” included the playwright Sarah Kane and her colleague Mark Ravenhill, the authors Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity”) and Irvine Welsh (“Trainspotting”) and natural musicians and musicians from boy bands (Take That), girl bands (Spice Girls) and rock bands (Oasis, Blur). In addition, Britain had Kate Moss, the coolest supermodel – which the Bonhams auction underlined with a series of photographs. A print by the Londoner in a mirrored bathroom by Mario Testino is said to bring in between 4600 and 6900 euros. A 3D print with the title “Kate Moss She’s Light (Pure)” by Chris Levine from 2014 is even estimated at 23,000 euros to 35,000 euros.

Bonhams Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon’s “Paul McCartney” poster from 1967 is estimated at 3500 to 5800 euros. © Bonhams

It is easy to forget that the second wave of British coolness was massively based on the first, which swept through the world in the late fifties and especially the “swinging sixties”. Pop Art was invented in London and Liverpool spawned a band that quickly became “more popular than Jesus” – The Beatles. The poster set of the same name by the American photographer Richard Avedon from 1967, which Bonhams is offering at an estimate of 3500 to 5800 pounds, has congenially preserved the magical aura of the “Fab Four”.



British. Cool.

Bonhams, London

February 25, 2021

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