Sotheby’s is prepping for the Fall when it will have an interesting collection of 200 works from Frank Dunphy, who is best known as the former business manager to Damien Hirst. It is no surprise that Dunphy is selling through Sotheby’s with whom he organized the (in)famous Beautiful Inside My Head Forever sale a decade before. The Dunphy sale, which includes a great deal of material from the YBA artists, comes as bookend to the decade of Hirst’s muted market in the wake of the big bang of the BIMHF sale. Here’s Sotheby’s on the sale:Continue Reading
Damien Hirst has a habit of falling back on his crowd pleasers after launching a new series of work, especially if that new series fails to excite the market or imagination. We saw it with the Bacon-inspired paintings that were debuted at the Wallace Collection. Those duds were followed by the global Spot painting exhibition. Last year we had the debut of Hirst’s sunken treasure fantasy which received a lot of attention (and for which many sales were claimed) but few outside of Hirst’s camp of fellow travelers have buzzed about buying works.
Today Hirst’s firm announces a combination of the two tactics. We’re back at an Old Master venue, Houghton Hall, once the site of one of the world’s great art collections when Walpole lived there. But the Old Masters are being taken down to show Hirst’s latest variations on the the Spots, which seem to be quite small and intimate compared to previous examples in the series.
A series of new paintings by Damien Hirst entitled Colour Space will be installed in the State Rooms at Houghton Hall for the exhibition Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall from 25 March – 15 July 2018. The exhibition will also include a number of the artist’s most celebrated sculptures which will be installed throughout the 18th-century house and gardens.
This exploration of the recent news reports about Damien Hirsts market and the actual prices paid over the last decade is available AMMpro subscribers. First time monthly subscribers get a 30-day grace period. Curious readers are welcome to subscribe to the monthly option and cancel before being billed.
Perhaps the strangest turn in the coverage of the art market this month has been the two prominent pieces on Damien Hirst at a time when his diminished standing has not seen a dramatic rise—or fall.
First we had David Colman’s profile of Hirst in New York Magazine which seems like a leftover piece that got held during the run-up to the Hirst’s Venice launch this Spring. Except there’s one addition:
According to Hirst, as of early November, the show had already generated $330 million in sales.
Anyone following the Hirst market, in general, and his Venice show, in particular, knows that the Hirst may be able to make that $330m claim but most likely the buyers are what can best be described as engrossers, not end users.
Around the time of the Venice opening, there was a lot of chatter in the press suggesting strong demand. That chatter came from collectors already heavily committed to the Hirst market, many of whom are active buyers and sellers.
Privately there was very little talk of buyers in Venice. If the world was waiting for yet another comeback from Hirst (the Bacon-like paintings, the global spot extravaganza, and, now, the deep-sea treasures,) it would seem we’re going to have to keep waiting.
Meanwhile, Felix Salmon takes to The New Yorker to further garble the picture with an argument against a straw man. To Salmon, art market opinions from the likes of Sarah Thornton and Robin Pogrebin are foolishly dismissive of Hirst after the apex of his market in September of 2008 as the global financial crisis entered its first jolts of dislocation:
That auction marked the end of Hirst as an art-market darling: his auction volumes and prices dropped, and bitter collectors who had spent millions on his art were left with work worth much less than what they had paid for it.
Salmon goes on to offer a finger-wagging lecture about the difference between the private market for art sales and the public market of auctions:Continue Reading
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.Continue Reading
We’re a little skeptical about Scott Reyburn’s claim in the International New York Times that Damien Hirst’s new show in Venice is “is the most talked-about art show on earth.” But we are curious to hear his reporting on sales from the extravagant “Wreck of the Unbelievable.” Also, it isn’t clear why some commentators think it is terribly naughty to point out that art work featured in the biennale itself is also for sale through the artists’ dealers. Nevertheless, Reyburn treats us to a little of that too.Continue Reading