Damien Hirst

Nationality : British

Birth Year : 1965

Place of Birth : Bristol, United Kingdom

Specialities : Contemporary Art


Occupation: Conceptual Artist, Painter, Entrepreneur
Movement: Young British Artists
Education: Jacob Kramer College, Goldsmiths
Famous Artworks
“The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living,” 1991
“Mother and Child, Divided,” 1993
“For the Love of God,” 2007
“Verity,” 2012
“Mickey,” 2012
Damien Hirst is a British born painter, installation artist, sculptor, printmaker and assemblagist. His work is known for its avant-garde approach to ideas of existence through iconography. An enfant terrible of the 1990s art world, he is notorious for his use of dead animals and mundane objects that challenge the notions of our collective reality.
Early Life
Hirst was born in Bristol in June of 1965, the son of an auto mechanic who left the family when Hirst was still an adolescent, and a worker at the Citizens Advice Bureau. Although his single mother claimed to have lost control of the boy when he was a teenager, Hirst’s own childhood account is one of strict discipline. Restrained from showing any form of rebellion in his sartorial and musical tastes, his only unrestricted outlet was art – the one subject at school he showed talent in. 
It was this talent that enabled him, with the help of a teacher, to be admitted into the Jacob Kramer School of Art on his second attempt. 
After completing his Diploma course, Hirst enrolled at Leeds College of Art and Design and later attended Goldsmiths at the University of London. During this time, he gained a placement in a mortuary, which directly inspired his death-centric thematic body of work.
In 1988, as a second-year student at Goldsmith, Hirst curated the exhibition “Freeze,” which showcased his own work alongside that of his fellow students. Famed art collector Charles Saatchi was present at the show, and became instantly enamored with Hirst’s work. Saatchi would later become a major proponent for many members of the then fledgling ‘shock-tactic’ artist group, Young British Artists, of whom Hirst was the most prominent representative.  
Success, Money and Fame
Hirst created his career-defining piece “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” in 1991. The large-scale installation, comprising a 4-meter-long tiger shark treated in a vitrine of formaldehyde, proved to be quite sensational; subsequently, Saatchi purchased it for £50,000. When Saatchi sold the piece in 2004 to collector Steven A. Cohen, it’s multi-million dollar price tag made headlines. Though the amount was not officially disclosed, the embalmed shark is widely speculated to have fetched $8 million or more.  The sale made Hirst the one of the most valuable artist on the market, second only to Jasper Johns. 
In 1993, Hirst participated in the Venice Biennale exhibiting his work “Mother and Child Divided,” which featured a cow and calf, sliced in cross sections and preserved in four separate vitrines of formaldehyde. In 1995, the contemporary artist finally won the Turner Prize, after being nominated three years earlier. The honor was given following the public vandalism of Hirst’s work Away from the Flock, a single sheep preserved in a vitrine. 
This was the decade during which Hirst’s drug abuse and alcoholism was at its peak. He speaks of himself at that time as “a babbling wreck”, and made headlines when he stuck a cigarette into the end of his penis in front of reporters in the late 1990s. In the year 2000, he faced legal action in Dublin when he pulled down his trousers and inserted a chicken bone into the end of his penis. Subsequently, he quit both smoking and drinking in 2002.
In 2007, Hirst’s “Lullaby Spring,” a steel cabinet containing individually painted pills, sold for $22.8 million at a Sotheby's London auction, officially sending Hirst past John’s record.
However, embalming fluid and dead animals aside, Hirst has become widely known for his spot paintings. Almost entirely completed by his assistants, these works feature uniformly painted rows of multicolored circles. In 2008, Hirst bypassed standard gallery representation and auctioned his work directly to the public through Sotheby’s London. Despite reservations that the artist was hurting his market, the auction, titled "Beautiful Inside My Head Forever," raised $198 million. 
The Horror of Mortality
In his work, Hirst questions one’s sentience and understanding of the lines that divide desire and dread, rationality and faith, eternity and impermanence. He uses the symbols and tools of science and religion to produce installations and paintings that portray the fragility of such constructs and our inability to grasp their meanings outside of familiar domains. 
Fresh Work
More recently, to the shock of many, the ever-evolving Hirst returned to painting. “Blue Paintings” was unveiled in 2009 at the Wallace Collection in London, leaving the critics divided. "People are not shocked by animals in formaldehyde anymore, but they're shocked that you're picking up a brush and a canvas and going backwards," he told BBC. 
Today, Damien Hirst remains one of the wealthiest and most controversial artists in the world.
1965  -  Born in Bristol 
1988  -  While studying at Goldsmith, Hirst curates the exhibition “Freeze,” which showcases his own work alongside that of his fellow students
1991  -  Makes his career-defining work, “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living”
1993  -  Hirst participates in the Venice Biennale exhibiting his work “Mother and Child Divided”
2007  -  Hirst’s “Lullaby Spring,” sells for $22.8 million at a Sotheby's London auction
2003  -  Saatchi Gallery, London
2003  -  White Cube, London
2005  -  Gagosian gallery, New York
2006  -  Hilario Galguera gallery, Mexico
2006  -  Gagosian Gallery, London
2007  -  White Cube Gallery, London
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Tate Gallery, London
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.
“Damien Hirst” by Ann Gallagher
“Damien Hirst: On The Way To Work” by Damien Hirst
“Damien Hirst: Relics” by Francesco Bonami and Abdellah Karroum


See More Lots FOR FREE
at Blouin Art Sales Index

LOT SOLD (2000 - 2009)






TOTAL SALES (2000 - 2009)


 Sagittarius by Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst


Bonhams, London

February 11, 2016

$83,760  USD

 Virtue by Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst


Sotheby's, London

February 11, 2016


 Butcher's Love by Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst

Butcher's Love

Sotheby's, London

February 11, 2016


 beautiful, babies, optical, persons nose, trembling camera, weird shutter release, artistic eye, exploding, pig, chainsaw, sex painting (with two small pink splashes) by Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst

beautiful, babies, optical, persons nose, tremblin

Christie's, London

February 11, 2016

$300,809  USD

 In search of Nirvana by Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst

In search of Nirvana

Sotheby's, London

February 10, 2016

$1,755,323  USD

 Omniscience by Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst


Sotheby's, London

February 10, 2016

$671,539  USD

 Psalm 23: Dominus regit me by Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst

Psalm 23: Dominus regit me

Phillips, London

February 10, 2016

$120,760  USD

 Spinning Chair by Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst

Spinning Chair

Phillips, London

February 10, 2016

$23,671  USD

 Hydrastinine by Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst


Phillips, London

February 9, 2016

$877,662  USD


Phillips' Respectable $35.1M 20th Century & Contemporary Art Sale

By Judd Tully | February 9, 2016

LONDON — Bucking strong financial headwinds from the global economy, Phillips managed to pull off a decent though hardly robust sale of 20th-Century & Contemporary Art that realized...

David Beckham Portraits to Be Sold for Charity at Phillips London

By Mark Beech | January 8, 2016

More than 50 portraits of David Beckham by top photographers are to be sold at Phillips in London in aid of charity. The March 10 auction in support of 7: The David Beckham Unicef fund and the...

The Power 100 of 2015: Part III

By Art+Auction | December 23, 2015

The bios and essays in Art+Auction’s guide to notable players in the art world will be rolled out on ARTINFO over the course of the next two weeks. Here, we present Part Three. Click here for an...

Unions Say No to Woody Allen Museum, Berkshires Plans "Cultural Corridor," and More

By Noelle Bodick | December 7, 2015

— In Barcelona, Unions Say No to Woody Allen Museum: Trade unions in Barcelona are fighting against a plan that would turn Pablo Picasso’s former art school into a museum enshrining to the...

SPONSORED: Around the World in 11 Days on Auctionata’s "Art Journey"

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | November 23, 2015

Beginning on November 27, the online auction house Auctionata will be taking bidders around the world in 11 days. Auctioning off 2,000 works of art from 20 different countries in regionally...

Julia Peyton-Jones to Step Down From Serpentine in London

By Mark Beech | October 30, 2015

Julia Peyton-Jones is to step down next summer after 25 years leading the Serpentine in London.Peyton-Jones, 63, is director and co-director of exhibitions and programs, joined in 2006 by Hans...

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Phillips Contemporary Art Evening Sale

By Regina Mogilevskaya | June 29, 2015

Damien Hirst: New Religion at The Lightbox

By Nicholas Forrest | April 1, 2015

The Language of the Street Private Exhibition

By Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop | March 31, 2015

Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Evening

By Regina Mogilevskaya | February 12, 2015