Hirst Painting Only Worth Signature – artmarketblog.com

Hirst Painting Only Worth Signature – artmarketblog.com

I hate to have to write about Damien Hirst again because, quite frankly, I have had more than enough of Damien Hirst to last me a lifetime. The Sotheby’s Hirst sale is, however, an important event in the art market regardless of what one things of Hirst and therefore there is a need for opinions to be expressed.

Hirst was recently quotes as saying “Someone in a gallery in New York told me the other day that my signature is worth $350” which is something I completely and utterly disagree with. Hirst’s signature is not worth $350, it is worth 385,250 pounds – the price paid for the four spot painting
AZOCARMINE B. I mean, come on, Hirst has absolutely no involvement in the creation of most of his spot paintings (physical of mental) with the hired fabricators, according to an Economist article, choosing which colour the spots are to be and then painting the spots which are SOMETIMES inspected and approved by Hirst. Take away Hirst’s signature (the only part of the painting by Hirst) from a spot work not painted by him and you have a virtually worthless spotted canvas. Taking this into consideration, the value of AZOCARMINE B has to reflect the value of Hirst’s signature since that is the only part of the work by him. Honestly, how much would you pay for AZOCARMINE B if it had no connection to Hirst and was sold as the work of one of the unknown people who actually painted the spots?

The reason that I chose AZOCARMINE B to illustrate this point is because in opinion it has the least intrinsic value of all the works sold at the auction and would have the lowest value if the association with Hirst was removed. Having done enough criticising of Hirst’s work for one post I would now like to make it clear that I do actually like some of Hirst’s work, namely some of the formaldehyde works and some of the pill works which I believe reflect talent, imagination and originality. Even though I do like some of Hirst’s works I would still not recommend that people purchase one due to the approach that Hirst has taken to the production of his work. Had Hirst not chosen to take the approach that he has to the production of his work I might have actually be writing a recommendation instead of a warning.

image: “The Dream” by Damien Hirst

**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

13 Responses

  1. Hi, I found your blog on this new directory of WordPress Blogs at blackhatbootcamp.com/listofwordpressblogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, i duno. Anyways, I just clicked it and here I am. Your blog looks good. Have a nice day. James.

  2. “Hirst has absolutely no involvement in the creation of most of his spot paintings”. The fact that Hirst isn’t even behind the conceptual aspect of the work makes his disconnection far more severe than say Donald Judd. However, it has often been said that Warhol often didn’t create some of his works but rather his Superstars did in his factory.

  3. Anyways, I’m kind of sick of the spot paintings myself, however I would enjoy a nice animal in formaldehyde however I don’t think it would fit in my apartment!

  4. Damian is not the first nor last person to approach art in this way. The fact is, like it or not he is a force and influence in contemporary art today. The fact that people are stupid enough to drop that kind of money on a “signature” piece is much more a comment on the world of collectors than that of the artist – who is basically taking the piss out of the whole system. Much the way Banksy does, but Damian has learned the hard way to become business savvy. I have to admire the guy.

  5. Heather,

    Why is it stupid to buy a Damien Hirst? Who cares if it isn’t even made by Hirst…you are buying the Damien Hirst “brand” as much as the painting itself. What if I said you could buy two exact looking polo shirts, one for $10 and one for $50. Why would you buy the $50? Plenty of people do because it has either a little figure of a guy playing polo or because it has an alligator. Is there really a difference between Hirst and this?

  6. I have to agree with Heather on this one. Yes, you are buying the Hirst brand but investment wise it is about as savvy as investing in one of the polo shirt you mention Adam. If Hirst’s actions didn’t have such an effect and influence on the market I wouldn’t have a problem with people purchasing his work even if it was because they actually don’t care about future value. The fact remains that long term, investment in nothing more than a brand is not very smart

    Nicholas Forrest

  7. Nick,

    I agree that Hirsts probably aren’t a good long-term investment. However Heather stated that people are stupid if they pay for a Hirst (given how much they cost). I disagree. If prestigious contemporary collectors are trying to build a solid, well-rounded collection they will most likely want it to include one of the most powerful names in contemporary art. You can debate the merits of Hirst as an artist, but whether or not you think he is a good artist, you can’t disagree with the fact that he is extremely relevant in the contemporary art scene. If we should have a problem with someone, perhaps it is the gallery system (Specifically Gagosian and Jopling). If you have problems with Hirst’s merits as an artist, shouldn’t you be complaining about Gagosian and Jopling who championed him?

  8. I agree w/ Adam his statement on Warhol, supports the theory as well. In the world of coins, the mess ups, and the error coins ,are the ones, worth the most money..

  9. I love your blog. Having said that, please stop writing about this person; maybe if he’s ignored he’ll go away and take his formaldehyde with him!

  10. Adams comments “Why is it stupid to buy a Damien Hirst? Who cares if it isn’t even made by Hirst…you are buying the Damien Hirst “brand” as much as the painting itself.” explains everything that is wrong with the ‘Art world’… it no longer has anything to do with ART, (a means of creative expression)

    It’s all about investment and the garbage that Hirst produces always draws the intention of investors looking to diversify…

    Hirst is no more of an artist than Britney Spears…

  11. Britney is more of a performance artist.

  12. subscription / please

  13. i just want to say i had to study someone and was impressed with what he has done and i dont think it is nice not to like just because you didnt like one painting. think about it!


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