Damien Hirst has flooded the art market with nearly 1,400 of the same painting.Well, virtually the same — Hirst’s famous multi-coloured “spot” paintings have dots ranging from the size of a pin to over five feet across.
But they all have the same industrial uniformity, mainly due to the fact that Hirst has assistants who manufacture the paintings for him.
Hirst has openly admitted that he is only responsible for the first 25 spot paintings, and his assistants have done the rest. But he still told Reuters last year that “every single spot painting contains my eye, my hand, and my heart.”
Whether they are the products of assistants or Hirst himself, the artist’s name has guaranteed the paintings have sold well at recent auctions — from $53,000 to $1.7 million in the past 18 months, according to The New York Times.
Even so, those numbers are not what they used to be. Hirst’s golden boy status in the art world began to tank in 2008 along with the economy, and since then his works of art have resold for 30% less than the original price, according to The Independent.
Perhaps that’s why Hirst is now drumming up publicity by revealing exactly how many spot paintings actually exist in a new book by his publisher Other Criteria — 1,365, to be precise.
That number is significantly lower than the rumoured 2,000-7,000 paintings in the series, which may increase future auction prices, but it’s still a lot.
And despite the market saturation, Hirst is in the process of creating even more spot paintings:
“Damien is working on some spot paintings with very small spots, including a painting with one million spots, which will take number of years to complete,” James Kelly, director of Hirst’s London company Science Ltd, told The New York Times in an email.
Of course he is.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.