The London-based Red Eight Galleries is brokering the deal between the owner of the townhouse property in the British city of Margate where the mural was painted, and Showpiece, a fractional ownership platform.
The mural has an estimated value of $7.64 million (£6 million) through an evaluation by Robin Barton of Bankrobber gallery. The fractional ownership sale of Valentine’s Day Mascara will take place on August 22 with a total of 27,000 shares.
“Realistically, we are looking to achieve between £1m and £1.5m,” Usher told the Art Newspaper, which first reported the news of the sale.
The mural features a 1950s-style housewife with a swollen, black eye, a bruised cheek, a swollen lower lip, and a knocked-out tooth. She wears a bright blue gingham dress, an apron, and yellow latex gloves, and has her arms out.
She was initially shown standing next to an open chest freezer and an upturned plastic lawn chair. The woman appeared to have disposed of an abusive male partner. Only the man’s pant cuffs, black socks, and black dress shoes could be seen poking out of the appliance.
The mural was removed twice in Margate, first by officials from the Thanet district council, then by workers after the owner of the property where the mural was painted called a London gallery for assistance.
Red Eight Galleries CEO Julian Usher told ITV News that the installation of Plexiglas and the removal of the chest freezer were both for security reasons, citing the high cost of guards to protect it around the clock.
While Banksy confirmed the work was genuine on Instagram, Usher said the mural had not been authenticated by the artist’s studio Pest Control. “The lack of authentication means we can’t take it to an auction house,” he told the Art Newspaper. “There is a grey secondary market for these pieces, but in the current financial market, those people are just not there”.
Historically, Banksy and Pest Control do not condone the sale of any work taken out of its original context, with only a few exceptions. Even without that stamp of approval, the mural Crowbar girl was sold for an estimated $2.4 million to a private buyer after it was extracted from the wall of an electric shop in November 2021.
Currently, the mural is on display at the amusement park Dreamland Margate and an agreement has been reached with the owner to show it there for at least 12 months. Usher told the Art Newspaper he spent two months sourcing experts to properly remove the work from the building, which took place at the end of April, at a total cost of nearly $250,000 (£195,000).
The plan is for Valentine’s Day Mascara to remain on display for at least 24 months at Dreamland Margate, where it has been on temporary view since June.
Some of the proceeds of the sales the fractional ownership shares will go to the very cause depicted in Valentine’s Day Mascara. Showpiece has agreed to donate some of the proceeds to the UK domestic violence charity Refuge. The owner of the mural has also pledged a six-figure sum to Oasis, a charity in Margate which supports families seeking to leave and recover from domestic abuse.