The person who placed the winning bid in the online auction of a painting that Banksy modified for charity has pulled out of the deal.
Known as "gorpetri", the bidder won the auction with a $615,000 bid for Banksy's The Banality of the Banality of Evil, which depicts a Nazi officer added to a classic landscape painting that the artist bought from a New York charity shop.
The collapse of the sale has led to rumours that Banksy himself may have been behind the bid, in an attempt to push the price of his work even higher. Art broker Wil Emling told the Guardian newspaper:
"It's all part of the hype, part of the marketing machine that is Banksy. The whole back-story to this painting is completely false … There are just too many questions.
"It's not uncommon for the price of a lot to go up in the final minutes, even by hundreds of dollars, but I do question that this painting jumped by several hundred thousand dollars. The increments were no longer logical.
"People were just jumping in, and it looked to me like they were deliberately trying to get the price up."
However, Housing Works, the charity to which the painting was given, has now sold the work for at least $450,000 to an anonymous buyer.
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