Same Damien Hirst for 25 times less –

Same Damien Hirst for 25 times less –

While traveling home on the train this evening I had an epiphany of epic proportions. An epiphany that could change the way people view Damien Hirst’s work and the market for his work forever !!!
What was this great epiphany I hear you ask??? Well, let me share. How many spot paintings do you suppose Damien Hirst has produced – ten, fifty, 100?. Try hundreds. And considering his name is on the works you would presume the dots were painted by Hirst right?. Wrong. The difficult task of painting the dots is most likely to have been carried out by one of Hirst’s many employees. In fact, in an article in UK newspaper ‘The Independant’, Hirst is quoted as saying:
“The spots I painted are shite,” Hirst has said. “The best person who ever painted spots for me was Rachel. She’s brilliant. The best spot painting you can have by me is one painted by Rachel.”

Below I have posted pictures and details for two Damien Hirst spot works. The first work is a painting of four spots titled AZOCARMINE B which is part of the Sotheby’s ‘Beautiful Inside My Head Forever’ (Day Sale) auction and has an estimate of 250,000—350,000 GBP. The second work is an etching o nine spots titled QUENE I – AM which is currently available to be purchased from the Other Criteria website ( for 10,000 GBP. So, what we have here are two works that consist of several dots that were presumably by the hand of someone other than Damien Hirst (In 2007 Hirst claimed authorship of only 5 of the hundreds of spot paintings with his name on them).

Yes, there are several differences between the two works but the primary characteristics are exactly the same. If it doesn’t matter who put the dots on the paper or canvas then as far as I am concerned it doesn’t make any difference how the dots got on the paper or canvas. I also don’t see how it matters if one is an etching and one is a painting considering that Hirst has produced the spot paintings in a series of many hundred meaning both the printed dots and painted dots are both essentially part of an edition of hundreds. Neither do I think it matters whether the dots are hand painted or hand printed. Either way, the finished product is still a series of hand applied dots applied by the hand of someone other than Hirst. It is also fair to say that both these works probably took the same amount of effort and time to complete.

Overall, the biggest physical difference between the two works is the size with “AZOCARMINE B” being bigger than “QUENE I – AM” but I hardly think that the difference in size is worth a difference in price of a quarter of a million pounds. What this all comes down to is that fact that the value of Hirst’s works is in the concept and the creator of the concept (ie. Hirst) and that the method of production and the identity of the producer is really not that important to the value of Hirst’s work. Consequently there is no real justification for the difference in price of these two works.

In conclusion, my analysis of these two works has shown that for 10,000 GBP you can acquire a work by Damien Hirst that is essentially the same as a work estimated to sell for 250,000-350,000 pounds. My advice would be to spend the 10,000 GBP or if you really want to spend a quarter of a million pounds on works by Damien Hirst then buy 25 of the “QUENE I – AM” works.

LOT 171

B. 1965

250,000—350,000 GBP

182.9 by 182.9cm.

alternate measurements
72 by 72in.

signed, titled and dated 2008 on the reverse
household gloss on canvas (spot size twenty-four inches)

B. 1965

10,000 GBP

115.4×112.5 cm

alternate measurements
45 3/8×44 1/4 in

Edition of 100
A unique one plate etching with 9 colours on Hahnemuhle paper 350g. Inked and printed by hand using French Charbonnel etching inks. Signed, dated, numbered and titled by the artist. Available exclusively from other criteria

If you would like to order one of these etchings all you have to do is email

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

9 Responses

  1. What is it with spots? Dots?

    These are crap and I don’t care who argues with me about it.

    You want dots or spots?

    I’ll give them to you.


    Now when Hirst can paint dots like these two, he will get my vote of confidence.

  2. […] let me share. How many spot paintings do you suppose damien hirst has produced – ten, fifty, 100?. HirstDamien hirst gets so buried under hype – his own and other people’s – that it is … […]

  3. If Damian Hurst has so many talented British artists working for him, why doesnt he promote them for there own work, if there work is better then his silly meaningless spot paintings. Spot paintings are not a new concept. I remember in the 1970’s they were everywhere. Do we really need to see more of them. However heres a new concept for you Damian Hurst Snot paintings. Oh 2nd thoughts you cant have that concept as its my idea. Snot paintings EloiseO’Hare copyright 16th September 2008.

  4. ok, everybody does whatever he wants like sir hirst or the people who buy his works, spending so much money. but i’d like to know, how sir hirst spends his money.. do you think sir hirst buys art with the money that earns? how much money he can spend for a work of other artist?

  5. These somewhat puerile responses totally miss the point of what Damien has been doing, and what his significance is, in regard to the art market. He set out from student days to break the mould and to push the boundaries – in particular in that respect; and as his latest Sotheby’s sale demonstrates, has succeeded beyond most people’s imagination.

    Attempting to discuss what he is about in such antiquated terms of reference is pointless. In addition, anyone who has followed Damien’s career even superficially would know how far he has always done his best to support and help talented younger artists – and his peers

  6. Hey V, I
    think Miss Waterson might be one of Damians Buyers if your looking for one.

  7. what’s behind the dots ? do you know why did Damian painted them ?
    and as an artist i think that it’s a sad example of how people dig the name of an artist rather then good solid art piece

  8. Hirst’s spot paintings – Hirst didn’t paint them himself, so they’re silly and meaningless.
    Warhol’s soup cans – Warhol didn’t do the screen printing himself so they’re silly and meaningless.
    Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye – LC didn’t build it with his own hands so it’s silly and meaningless.
    Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum – Gehry didn’t put the roof on and do the plumbing himself so it’s silly and meaningless.
    This blog and its comments is like reading Brian Sewell’s idle thoughts.

  9. Damien Hirst is a whole different kettle of fish, Joe, but I think you already know that.

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