Banksy to sell paintings estimated at £1.2m to raise cash for Bethlehem hospital

Artist puts up for auction Mediterranean Sea View 2017 triptych, created as a response to European migrant crisis; funds to be used for children’s rehab equipment

The triptych of paintings 'Mediterranean Sea View 2017' seen in The Walled Off Hotel, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, December 22, 2019. (Majdi Mohammed/AP)
The triptych of paintings 'Mediterranean Sea View 2017' seen in The Walled Off Hotel, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, December 22, 2019. (Majdi Mohammed/AP)

Secretive artist British artist Banksy has put up for auction a set of three paintings, estimated to be worth up to £1.2 million, with proceeds of the sale to be donated to a hospital in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The triptych Mediterranean Sea View 2017 will go under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London on July 28 at an auction titled “Rembrandt to Richter.”

The paintings are estimated to be worth £800,000-£1.2 million ($1 million-$1.5 million), according to Sotheby’s.

Funds raised from the sale will be donated for a new acute stroke unit and to buy children’s rehabilitation equipment for the BASR hospital in Bethlehem, the UK Guardian newspaper reported Sunday.

The images show Romantic-era seascapes to which Banksy added his own details.

“Banksy reworked the original compositions by adding a slew of hand-painted life jackets and buoys; a visual amendment that evokes mass death at sea,” Southerbys said.

The paintings came as a comment on the European migrant crisis over the past decade that saw tens of thousands of people attempting to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea in often inadequate watercraft. Many failed and drowned along the way.

Banksy created the paintings in 2017 for his Walled Off hotel in Bethlehem, which is billed as having “the worst view of any hotel in the world,” overlooking Israel’s security barrier. They had hung over a fireplace at the hotel, which is home to the largest collection of Banksy works on public display.

Israel began building the security barrier — in parts concrete, with other stretches consisting of fencing — during the Second Intifada to stop suicide bombings being launched by Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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