Damien Hirst is one of the best-known living artists, and he is also an entrepreneur and art collector. His artwork takes many forms, including painting, sculpture, installation art, and conceptual art. He is particularly famous for using death as a central theme in his work, although he also covers themes such as rebirth, medicine, beauty, and technology. Hirst began his career in 1987, then rose to prominence in the early 1990s. He went on to dominate the UK art scene for the rest of the decade. The artist is one of the founding members of the art movement known as Young British Artists. He became particularly famous for his work with dead animals, which attracted attention and caused controversy. Although Hirst sold his work in galleries during the beginning of his career but made the controversial decision to start selling his work at auctions. He sold his first complete show, Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, at Sotheby's in 2008. Not only is he one of the most famous artists of the current day, but he is also one of the most financially successful artists, with many of his works selling for millions of dollars at auction. Here are the five most expensive Damien Hirst works of art ever sold.
5. Eternity - $6.3 Million
When people think of Damien Hirst, they usually think of his sculptures and art installations first. However, he has also produced some amazing paintings. One of which was Eternity. Eternity was part of the Kaleidoscope series, one of Hirst's earlier series. The colors and patterns created by kaleidoscopes have inspired the artist, and Eternity is the perfect example of these patterns and colors. Hirst's interest in the blurred lines of life and death also inspired the painting. Eternity features paintings of 2,700 butterflies arranged circularly across a 17-foot canvas, like the patterns seen on a kaleidoscope. The piece was sold at an auction at Phillips in London for $6.6 million.
4. Lullaby Winter - $6.6 Million
Lullaby Winter is part of the cabinet collection, along with Damien Hirst's most expensive work of art Lullaby Spring. Hirst created the piece in 2002, and it features hand-crafted, brightly colored pills displayed on clear shelves in shiny steel cases. The number of pills featured in the installation depicts the average number of pills humans consume during their lives. Hirst used concepts such as life, death, and the human condition as inspirations for his work. Like all of Hirst's work, the piece raises many questions. In this case, it makes people question mortality and inspires them to look at how medicines have become an important part of life. Christie's describes the piece as a monumental altar to medicine and explains how the concept of better living through medicine influences Hirst's work. Lullaby Winter sold at an auction in Sotheby's New York for an eye-watering $6.6 million. The sale price significantly exceeded the estimated price of between $2.5 million and $3.5 million.
3. The Kingdom - $15.3 Million
Some of Damien Hirst's works are more famous than others, and The Richest says that one of the artist's most famous works is The Kingdom. It is a sculpture featuring a tiger shark set inside a clear glass cabinet. Hirst created the piece in 2008. It was sold in the same year at a Sotheby's auction for a whopping $15.3 million, and the high selling price attracted a huge amount of media attention. In reaction to the media interest, Hirst is quoted as saying that you cannot contain art with money and that people should appreciate the effort it takes an artist to make a piece. The Kingdom was not the first of Hirst's work to feature a tiger shark. In 1991, the English artist created a piece called The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. Charles Saatchi commissioned the piece, and it featured a tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde within a glass case. When the shark began to deteriorate, which Hirst blamed on Saatchi's gallery adding bleach to the formaldehyde, the shark was skinned, and the skin covered a body replacement made of fiberglass. When the piece was sold to Steven A. Cohen, Hirst replaced the shark with a real tiger shark, and Cohen covered the cost of the procedure.
2. The Golden Calf - $16.5 Million
Hirst is known for his controversial works. Whether people love them or hate them, they are always a talking point as they are thought-provoking and unique. One of his most controversial pieces was The Golden Calf. It is a sculpture featuring a white bullock preserved in formaldehyde. The bullock's horns and hoofs are made from 18-carat gold, and there is a gold disc on top of the animal's head. Icon Icon says that the piece of art weighs a hefty ten tons. When the sculpture went to auction at Sotheby's in 2008, it attracted a lot of attention. Three bidders fought it out in the auction room, which bumped up the price, and it sold for a staggering $16.5 million.
1. Lullaby Spring - $19.3 Million
The most expensive Damien Hirst artwork ever sold was Lullaby Spring. It is part of the cabinet series, which also included Lullaby Winter. The piece features hand-painted pills in a glass cabinet with sliding doors. The brightly-colored pills represent the spring season and symbolize renewed life and new beginnings. When the art installation went to auction at Sotheby's on June 21, 2007, it had an estimated price of $3 million to $4 million. However, it achieved almost five times its highest estimate, as it sold for $19.3 million.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson