Beautiful Inside My Head Forever

The total for all three parts of the Hirst Sale is £111,576,800 ($200,838,240)

Press response to the sale is below

Sotheby’s Evening Sale of Damien Hirst Works

Top Ten Works

The Telegraph offers this description of the sale and the five lots that didn’t find buyers:

The five that failed to reach their reserve were mainly creations lacking the instantly recognisable glamour of the Hirst ‘brand’, such as Killing Time, a plastic box filled with a desk, office chair, pills and a watch. But on the whole demand for Hirst’s work remained brisk.

A key moment in the two-day sale came early on Monday evening, when bidding for his shark in formaldehyde, called The Kingdom, stalled at £3.5 million, well below its £4-6 million pre-sale estimate.

Auctioneer Oliver Barker held off the hammer, asking two uncertain telephone bidders: “Are we going on?” Eventually they did go on, embarking on a game of ping-pong that took the price up and up. It eventually sold for £9.6 million, including the buyer’s premium, the second highest price of the auction. From that point the nothing held the buyers back.

The Guardian observes:

Bidding was noticeably brisker under the £500,000 mark. Over that price, only the anonymous phone bidders were left in the game.

Reuters adds these interesting quotes:

Auction houses have been appealing to “recession-proof” buyers in the Middle East and Russia, where record oil prices have boosted already massive fortunes, along with the super-rich in emerging economies such as India.

“Damien is so prolific, and the hype around him breeds more hype,” said another bidder who also declined to be identified. “I think almost the fact that he can produce this work so fast, and on such a scale makes them valuable.”

Others were drawn to the London auction house to observe the spectacle, more than to buy.

“Have they got the appeal of an old master, a Cezanne, say?” said one art enthusiast. “I don’t see it, but his work is just a different way of looking at art. The price that they’re going for interests me more than the art.”

Kelly Crow in the Wall Street Journal:

Longtime New York dealer Mary Boone says other artists will likely begin organizing single-owner auctions whenever they believe they have reached their peak price levels in galleries or want to try expanding their global audience. But she says artists may also need Mr. Hirst’s charisma in order to pull it off: “The circus-like atmosphere of this sale certainly helped him, but Damien has always thrived on being over the top.”

Damien Hirst Sale Makes £111 million (Daily Telegraph)

£111m Damien Hirst total sets record for one artist auction (The Guardian)

Hirst’s Lodnon art sale defies economic blues (Reuters)

Hirst Pulls in Over $200 Million (Wall Street Journal)