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'Enfant terrible' Damien Hirst to sell artwork at auction

Latest update : 2008-09-17

British artist Damien Hirst is about to sell 223 works of art, with an estimated value of 65 million pounds, at Sotheby's in London, without going through a gallery. The auction sale marks a revolution in the art world.

 

British artist Damien Hirst, who broke the mould by putting sharks in formaldehyde, has turned his attention to revolutionising the art market by selling his work direct at auction.

  

On Monday and Tuesday, Hirst will sell 223 works with an estimated value of 65 million pounds (82 million euros, 116 million dollars) at Sotheby's auction house in London, bypassing the traditional route of the art gallery.

  

Sotheby's says it is the first time in its 264-year history that an artist has sold their work direct to market, avoiding the commission galleries often charge, which can reach 50 percent of the sale price.

  

Buyers will find the auction house's commission included in the price, and Hirst has promised to donate some of the profits to charity.

  

The artist said the idea for the revolutionary sale had come from Sotheby's.

  

"They approached me and I think the art market is changing. At the end of the day I knew it would upset a lot of people and I quite liked that," he told BBC television.

  

"The whole art market was set up in kind of Victorian times and it was like an old gentlemen's club and it has not been changed for many, many years."

  

Hirst, 43, is already one of the best-selling modern artists in the world.

  

Last year he sold a platinum skull encrusted with 8,601 diamonds for 50 million pounds, which is thought to be the world's most expensive piece of contemporary art.

  

The tried-and-tested Hirst concepts make a comeback for the Sotheby's sale.

  

Returning to the idea that made his name, Hirst has put a calf in a tank of formaldehyde, only this time the animal has hoofs and horns fashioned from solid gold and a gold disc on its head.

Date created : 2008-09-15

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