Hirst Art Auction Reality Part 1 – artmarketblog.com

Hirst Art Auction Reality Part 1 – artmarketblog.com

The upcoming auction of new works by Damien Hirst to be conducted by Sotheby’s (see here) has generated a huge amount of hype that is sure to result in a packed saleroom and at least a few major results. According to the Sotheby’s website the auction, which has been given the rather romantic title “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever”, is “a major auction of works by Damien Hirst, [that] will include an important series of new pieces which have been created over the past two years, including monumental formaldehyde sculptures; paintings which expand on the artist’s classic themes such as butterflies, cancer cells and pills; exquisite new cabinets and insightful preparatory drawings.”

Ok, now that all that is out of the way, it is time for a reality check. I have identified many potential problems with this auction, the first being the fact that versions of many of the works being offered at the auction have already been sold at auction. It is no secret that Hirst gets as much mileage from each “theme” as he can, producing multiple versions of many of his works such as the spin paintings and butterfly paintings, which presents a conundrum for those planning on purchasing a version of such a work from the auction. Because of the hype surrounding the sale of these works it is quite likely that high prices will be paid for the works being auctioned. The conundrum is, is it worth paying more for one of the works from this auction considering that it is quite likely that a very similar work will be available for sale at a lower price elsewhere? . As far as I can see the answer is no because once the hype is over the buyers are potentially going to be left with a work of art similar to other works on the market except for the fact that they paid more for theirs.  And personally, I don’t see the fact that these works were part of a “landmark” auction as being enough to justify a higher value. For those of you thinking that people won’t pay more for a work of art just because it is being sold at a landmark auction event or because they don’t want the other ten people bidding for the work to have it, think again

Savvy investors and collectors would be better off purchasing a version of the works being offered at the Sotheby’s auction from elsewhere before the auction takes place to take advantage of the increase in price that the auction is likely to generate for Hirst’s work. Be warned though, that any price increase as a result of the auction may only last for a short period of time so to take advantage of the price increase may require any works purchased to be sold relatively soon after purchase. To be continued…


Beautiful Helios Hysteria Intense Painting
(with Extra Inner Beauty) (lot 227, Afternoon Sale)
household gloss on canvas
diameter: 45.7cm.
executed in 2008
estimate: £ 60,000-80,000
€ 76,000-102,000
US$ 119,000-158,000

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications

2 Responses

  1. незнаю, мне всё нравится! 🙂

  2. […] Reality Part 1 – artmarketblog.com ? Art Market Blog with Nicholas Forrest http://www.artmarketblog.comhttp://artmarketblog.com/2008/08/20/hirst-art-auction-reality-part-1-artmarketblogcom/Double Talk – partners in comedy – ScotsmanCS: And the story of your proposal has become a Fringe […]

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