From Damien Hirst to Sam Gilliam, Six- and Low-Seven-Figure Sales Are Surprising to the Upside
New Buyers Drive Hirst Market
Damien Hirst, N-Chlorodacetyl-L-Phenylalanine (PFS) Crystalline (£100-150k) £358k
Colin Gleadell spoke to the buyers at Frank Dunphy’s Yellow Ball sale studded with the work of his former client, Damien Hirst. Much has been made of the fall in Hirst’s auction volume and prices since the 2008 sale on the eve of the financial crisis. Those who mock Hirst—and, really, who among us hasn’t?—might want to take notice of what Gleadell reports:
- “Ten years ago, leading up to his £111 million Beautiful Inside my Head Forever sale at Sotheby’s, Hirst prices were just too high,” [Alon Zakaim] said, comparing them with Monet. “Now they are about right, and the sale showed how deep the demand is at this level.”
- Jonathan Cheung of the Maddox Gallery […] had his eye on about 10 works, but could buy only two.
- Gleadell and Sotheby’s Oliver Barker who has handled Hirst sales since closing of Hirst’s Pharmacy restaurant in 2004 observe that the Yellow Ball buyers were not OG Hirst market participants.
Pro tip: This is how markets work. Prices rise until they cannot be sustained any more. They fall into they attract new buyers. If new buyers don’t show up, prices can fall to zero. If new buyers do become interested in the market, prices will rise again until they become a barrier.
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