He is controversial, he is sometimes arrogant, he has being accused for plagiarism; but Damien Hirst is one of the most famous living artists. His art moved the boundaries of contemporary art. Although many people argue that Hirst’s time is over, he always comes back (for example, he participated at gigantic Banksy’s Dismaland project). It’s not so easy to classify Damien Hirst art; however, if we had to do that, we could say that his art has characteristics of conceptual art, installation art, painting, and so on. He is known for being the most prominent member of the group known as the Young British Artists (or YBAs), who dominated the art scene in the UK during the 1990s.
Damien Hirst is reputed to be the richest living artist to date. In 2009, the annually collated chart of the wealthiest individuals in Britain and Ireland, Sunday Times Rich List, placed Hirst at joint number 238 with a net worth of £235m. Finally, when it comes to the financial worth of his artworks, that is really an interesting story. He is very popular among art collectors, and it is proven numerous times at auction sales. In September 2008, he took an unprecedented move for a living artist by selling a complete show, Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, at Sotheby’s by auction and bypassing his long-standing galleries. The auction exceeded all predictions, raising $198 million, breaking the record for a one-artist auction. So, let us see what are the most expensive Damien Hirst art pieces sold at auctions. Scroll down, and take a look!
The Black Sheep with the Golden Horn
This amazing piece was created in 2008. What is particularly unique in this sculpture is the use of different materials – glass, sheep, steel, acrylic and formaldehyde. This formaldehyde sculpture was part of the exhibition entitled Obedience at Jewish Museum Berlin this year – an exhibition exploring the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac.
The artwork was sold for $4,130,000 at Sotheby’s London. For more information on the sale, please click here!
Featured Image: Damien Hirst – Black Sheep with Golden Horns (courtesy of gagosian.com)
Memories of / Moments with You
This artwork was made of gold-plated stainless steel, glass and cubic zirconia in 2008. The work was part of many exhibitions, several of them in Tate Modern. It was also sold during the “iconic” Sotheby’s auction from 2008. The Hirst’s decision to take 223 works straight to auction, bypassing the gallery owners and dealers who normally take a hefty commission, was watched closely by the art world and set a precedent for artists seeking to maximize their profits.
The piece was sold for $4,130,000 at Sotheby’s London. To find out more about the sale of this work, please click here!
Featured Image: Damien Hirst – Memories of Moments with you (courtesy of damienhirst.com)
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow is a beautiful and complex installation, that was created with glass, stainless steel, fish, fish skeletons, acrylic, MDF, paint and formaldehyde solution. It was created in 2008. As the vast majority of the artist’s most expensive artworks, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow was also sold at Sotheby’s London 2008 auction. The estimated price was $4,490,000 – $6,280,000; at the end, it was sold for $4,670,000.
To find out more about this artwork, click here!
Featured Image: Damien Hirst – Here today, gone tomorrow
Where There's a Will, There's a Way
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way is a beautiful sculpture that was created in 2007. It’s actually a pill cabinet sculpture filled with clusters of antiretroviral pills used to treat HIV/Aids. The whole work is filled with antiretroviral drugs for the treatment of HIV. During Sotheby’s New York auction in 2008, the piece was estimated at $5,000,000 – $7,000,000; at the end it was sold for $6,500,000.
To find out more about this artwork, please click here!
Featured Image: Damien Hirst – Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way (courtesy of damienhirst.com)
In Damien Hirst’s Lullaby Winter, thousands of beautifully hand-crafted pills – numbering the amount a single human might expect to consume in a lifetime – are precisely positioned on razor-sharp shelving and enshrined within a perfect, mirrored surgical steel cabinet. In its stark yet colorful splendor, the cabinet stands as an exquisite monument to Hirst’s unremitting investigation of life, death, and the human condition.
The artwork was sold for $6,600,000 at Sotheby’s New York, in 2008. Click here to learn more about the sale!
Featured Image: Damien Hirst – Lullaby Winter (courtesy of wsj.com)
Fragments of Paradise
Fragments of Paradise is a beautiful piece made from stainless steel, glass and manufactured diamonds. The sculpture was created in 2008, and it was sold at (a numerous times) mentioned Sotheby’s auction in London in 2008. This auction was one of the strangest auction sales ever. It was unusual as he bypassed galleries and sold directly to the public. Writing in The Independent, Cahal Milmo said that the idea of the auction was conceived by Hirst’s business advisor of 13 years, Frank Dunphy, who had to overcome Hirst’s initial reluctance about the idea. Hirst eventually defended the concept and refuted the accusation that he was only interested in making money.
The artwork was sold for $8,260,000. More information on the sale you can find here!
Featured Image: Damien Hirst – Fragments of Paradise (courtesy od damienhirst.com)
Damien Hirst has gained his international status as a contemporary art star by using animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, sharks, flies and of course butterflies as the central focus of some of his most ambitious and successful works to date. By using these animals in his work, Hirst comments not only on the mortality of these particular creatures, but on the idea of mortality in general. It is in fact this larger notion of balance in nature and eternal cycles – life and death – that Hirst is most concerned with in his works of art. Eternity is part of the artist’s famous “Butterfly” series.
The piece was sold for $8,530,000 at Phillips London, in 2007. The learn more about the sale, click here!
Featured Image: Damien Hirst – Eternity, detail (courtesy of damienhirst.com)
Hirst’s The Kingdom is a sculpture, created in 2008, with tiger shark, glass, steel, silicone and formaldehyde solution with steel plinth. This piece was also sold at famous Sotheby’s auction in 2008. Commenting the auction, Hirst said: People always worry that money somehow tarnishes art, but I always thought it was disgusting that people like Van Gogh never made any money. It’s important to make sure that the art takes precedence over the money. Most people worry that somehow you lose your integrity. Frank said to me a long time ago: ‘Always have to make sure that you use the money to chase the art and not the art to chase the money.’ And I think that’s true; you have to look at that very carefully.
The piece was sold for $15,300,000. More info on the sale you can find by clicking here!
Featured Image: Damien Hirst – The Kingdom (courtesy of theguardian.com)
The Golden Calf
The Golden Calf was the top seller of the controversial 2008 Sotheby’s auction. It’s a white bullock preserved in formaldehyde, with hoofs and horns made of 18-carat gold and a gold disc crowning the head. The work was estimated at $15.8 million to $23.6 million and drew three bidders. Finally, it was sold for $16,500,000.
For more information about the artwork, click here!
Featured Image: Damien Hirst – The Golden Calf (courtesy of zimbio.com)
Finally, we have a winner – Lullaby Spring. Lullaby Spring reminds us of the constancy of nature’s rebirth that has continued unabated for thousands of years. As sure as winter will come, so our days on this earth are numbered, ordained by a grand scheme that is beyond our ken or control. Yet in Lullaby Spring, we are presented with a monument to mankind’s attempt to break this cycle of life and death. Filled with the optimism and life-giving quality implied by the title, this array of palliatives and remedies is a testament to the enormity of the accomplishment of modern science in blunting the ravages of disease and prolonging life. An altarpiece to modern medicine, Lullaby Spring enshrines the fundamental tenets of Damien Hirst’s entire oeuvre by interrogating the common ground between the traditionally distinct and antithetical faculties of science and art.
The artwork was sold for amazing $17,100,000 at Sotheby’s London, in 2007. For more info on the sale, please click here!