It might be load of crap – but a tin full of artist’s poo sold for £220,000 at Sotheby’s!

Updated: June 17, 2020

A WORK of art made from a tin can which a top artist claimed was filled with his own poo was sold at an auction for over £220,000.

Yes, you read that price correctly … it just goes to prove the old saying that where there’s muck there’s brass.

The bizarre object, entitled ‘Merda d’Artista’ by the late Italian artist Piero Manzoni, was among contemporary ‘masterpieces’ offered for sale by Sotheby’s in Milan.

A label on the sealed tin states: “Artist’s S*** – Contents 30 gr net – Freshly preserved, produced and tinned, in May 1961.”

Just in case anybody didn’t get the message, the label repeats itself in four different languages

Manzoni, who died in 1963, created 90 of the numbered tins after his father, who owned a canning factory, reportedly told him: “Your work is s***.”

Sotheby’s described the artistic object as: “Property from an important private Italian collection.”   It was sold on June 16th 2020 for 250,000 Euros (approximately £223,243) – exceeding its estimate by 70,000 Euros.


The value of the individual cans has rocketed in recent years despite sceptics questioning whether or not they actually contain Manzoni’s excrement.  Apparently, somebody tried to open one of the tins many years ago and it caused a right old stink in the art world!

Manzoni was quoted in 1960 as saying: “When I blow up a balloon, I am breathing my soul into an object that becomes eternal.

“I should like all artists to sell their fingerprints, or else stage competitions to see who can draw the longest line or sell their shit in tins.

“If collectors want something intimate, really personal to the artist, there’s the artist’s own shit, that is really his.”


Which painting in the National Gallery would I save if there was a fire? … The one nearest the door of course!

– George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)

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