The world-famous anonymous street artist Banksy may be forced to reveal his real name due to a lawsuit over the authenticity of one of his most famous works, Monkey Queen, The Guardian reports.

Two art collectors have filed a lawsuit against the artist over his “refusal” to confirm the authenticity of one of his famous Monkey Queen works.

After three years of trying to get a response, Nicky Katz and Ray Howes lost their patience and sued Pest Control for breach of contract. Pest Control’s website states that it will issue a certificate of authenticity for “paintings, prints, sculptures, and other attempts at creativity”. It compares the certificate to “maintenance for the art world”: “which means you can buy, sell or insure a work of art knowing it’s legitimate.”

They sent the artwork to Pest Control, explaining that they had purchased it for £30,000 in 2020 from the estate of the recently deceased collector Banksy, but there seemed to be no accompanying paperwork detailing the collection.

Katz, 65, a Londoner who owns a quarry and art collection that includes many Banksy works, said the Monkey Queen is worth between £55,000 and £70,000, and he is outraged by Pest Control’s delay. Legal action is now the only option, he added.

Pest Control said: “Our authentication process is robust and thorough and sometimes takes time. We have issued many thousands of certificates of authenticity.”

Banksy’s identity has long been the subject of speculation and investigation. He is known for his stencil-based artwork and has described himself as a “quality vandal” who mocks authority figures through artwork in public places. His partially shredded painting “Love in a Dumpster” sold at auction in 2021 for over £18.5 million, and his signed prints sell for five and six figures.

Pest Control was created by the artist in 2008 after selling fake prints online, and it plays a key role in the market for his work. It is claimed that the certificate of authentication is vital to achieving the maximum price when selling his work.

Banksy has not ignored the Russian occupation war in Ukraine. The first works by British underground artist Banksy appeared on the wall of a destroyed house in Borodianka in November 2022. Later, other graffiti was discovered and confirmed in Kyiv, Gostomel and Irpin.

The artist’s works appear all over the world and are considered masterpieces of the global scale.

Source: The Gaze