Several journalists have made a point of claiming that the Damien Hirst show in Venice hosted by Francois Pinault is the most talked about event in the art world right now. It’s not clear who they’re talking to. But this week’s sales in New York have a way for us to tell if the sales reports coming out of Venice—like the one below from ArtNews—are recording real demand.
Phillips has a massive pill cabinet estimated at $5-7m which already has a third-party guarantee. Sotheby’s day sale has a good spot painting, Levamisole (above) which was acquired from Hirst and then sold privately. It’s got a good ($600-800k) estimate and is in great condition.
Good works by Hirst have never lost their market. But there has been a decrease in price pressure. If the sales we’re getting force-fed from Venice are for real (update: at least one market participant put it directly to one of the named families who were unequivocal about their not having bought from the Venice show) then we’ll see some aggressive bidding on either or both of these works.
Sources told me that between 60 to 70 percent of the works are already sold [….] Among the buyers, I have learned, are the Nahmad family, who have long supported Hirst; the Mugrabi family, who at one point owned 150 works by Hirst and could very well own many more now; and François Pinault […] I have also learned that Qiao Zhibing, the Chinese collector who opened the Tank Shanghai last year, has also picked up work from the show.