Banksys The Drinker withdrawn from Sothebys sale after rival artist claims ownership

Banky's The Drinker riffs on Rodin's The Thinker Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Banksys The Drinker, a sculpture that was removed from the street in 2004 by artist Andy Link, but later “liberated” from his garden, has been withdrawn from Sothebys after Link claimed he still owned the piece.

Link, aka AK47, the leader of the Art Kieda “arto-politico” group, says he received a call from Sothebys an hour before the sale was due to start this morning informing him of the withdrawal—but that it had nothing to do with his claim.

Sothebys says the lot, expected to fetch £1m, was “withdrawn in agreement with the consignor”.

In a letter to Link dated 18 November, Sothebys legal team says it “would require a cogent and persuasive case, with appropriate evidence before—after taking instructions from the consignor—altering the planned sale process on any legal grounds relating to purported title claim by you”.

Sothebys acknowledges “the interesting story of [Links] involvement in this piece in 2004”, but says it sees “no reason why the consignor of the work, subsequently authenticated by Banksys authentication process, does not have title to sell”.

According to the sale catalogue, the consignor acquired the work directly from Banksys former dealer Steve Lazarides in 2014. The sculpture had been in storage for seven or eight years before that, after it was “liberated” from Links East End garden by “associates” of Lazarides in around 2007.

Link had “kidnapped” The Drinker from its plinth in Soho, central London, three years earlier. He later registered his “find” with the police and contacted Banksy, asking for a ransom of around £5,000, to which Banksy respoRead More – Source