Contemporary Print Market Report

Damien
Hirst

Discover art for sale. Buy and sell prints & editions online by Young British Artist Damien Hirst. Never shy of shocking the art world and wider public, Hirst is one of Britain's most controversial contemporary artists.

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Biography

One of the most prominent Young British Artists—an internationally-renowned artist group known for their controversial work and dominance of the British art scene during the 1990s—Damien Hirst is widely hailed as the enfant terrible of the contemporary art world.

1. £10.3M for Damien Hirst's The Golden Calf

Animals suspended in formaldehyde solution are among Hirst’s best-known early works and the artist offered a small menagerie of pickled creatures in his auction with Sotheby’s, Damien Hirst – Beautiful Inside My Head Forever (Evening Sale) on 15 September 2018 in London.

The star lot of the night was a bull with solid 18-carat hoofs, horns and a golden disc on its head – a nod to the false idol that enraged Moses in the Biblical story. Sold for £10,345,250, it is Hirst’s most expensive work in pounds (in dollars, it fetched US$14,400,000), but The Golden Calf did not exceed its £8,000,000-12,000,000 estimate and was, perhaps, not the sacred cow Sotheby’s had hoped for.

Lullaby Spring by Damien Hirst

image © Sotheby's / Lullaby Spring © Damien Hirst 2002

2. £9.7M for Damien Hirst's Lullaby Spring

Considered Hirst‘s most expensive work for its value in dollars (US$19,200,000 million), Lullaby Spring – a steel and glass cabinet holding 6,136 individually painted pills – achieved over three times its £3,000,000-4,000,000 estimate when it sold at Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Auction in London on 21 June 2007. At £9,600,000, it set a new auction record price for Hirst and established him as Europe’s most expensive living artist at the time.

Lullaby Spring is one in a series of four pill cabinets known as Lullaby, The Seasons. Christie’s had sold Lullaby Winter in their New York auction in May 2007 for US$7,432,000, or £3,700,000, although the buyer never paid. Just over a month later, Lullaby Spring increased the value of Hirst’s pill cabinets by US$12,000,000 when it was offered at Sotheby’s.

The Kingdom by Damien Hirst

image © Sotheby's / The Kingdom © Damien Hirst 2008

3. £9.6M for Damien Hirst's The Kingdom

The second-highest lot on Sotheby’s dedicated Hirst auction on 15 September 2008, The Kingdom presented a tiger shark in a black vitrine. Hirst’s most famous tiger shark sculpture, The Physical Impossibility of Death In The Mind Of Someone Living, made headlines in 2005 when art collector and patron Charles Saatchi privately sold the work to an American buyer for nearly £7,000,000.

The Kingdom was not as large as The Physical Impossibility, but there was energetic bidding for the chance to own a Hirst shark – at nearly £9,600,000 million, The Kingdom achieved far more than its £4,000,000-6,000,000 estimate.

The Void by Damien Hirst

image © Phillips / The Void © Damien Hirst 2000