Kelly Crow suggests that opening of Damien Hirst’s new museum—showing his own collection—will somehow revive his battered market that peaked with the Beautiful Inside My Head Forever sale in 2008.
Whether Hirst’s market was crippled by the credit crisis or undermined by the flood of material unleashed in that sale will never be knowable. The important part of the story is that although his market is reduced substantially, many works by the artist still trade actively on the primary and secondary markets.
Crow’s story in the Wall Street Journal shows why:
an independent but powerful set of dealers, collectors and art advisers are quietly betting that a surge of interest in Mr. Hirst’s new endeavor could spill over into higher sales for his art. Some, like New York dealer Jose Mugrabi, are stockpiling Hirsts in hopes of reselling them for later profits, believing a fresh generation of art collectors will walk away wanting to buy their own Hirsts. Mr. Mugrabi, who helped mount successful comeback campaigns in the past for Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Richard Prince, said he owns 120 pieces by Mr. Hirst, including $33 million of art he bought directly from the artist’s studio three months ago.
Other dealers like Pilar Ordovas are organizing gallery shows that place Mr. Hirst’s work alongside still-popular artists, angling for a beneficial comparison.
New York art adviser Kim Heirston, whose clients include Naples collector Massimo Lauro, said she has been scouring for Hirsts at fairs and auctions alike. “I’m telling anybody who will listen to buy him because Damien Hirst is here to stay,” Ms. Heirston said.
Betting on a Damien Hirst Comeback (WSJ)