Damien Hirst

Learn about DAMIEN HIRST (B. 1965), Impressionist & Modern Art artist,their past and upcoming works offered at auction at Christie's

Few artists have such an enduring power to shock and invigorate the public debate surrounding contemporary art as the enfant terrible of the YBAs, Damien Hirst. Beneath a surface of morbid titillation, exquisite beauty, or outright bling lies one of the most important artistic projects in a generation – a profound exploration of the relationship between life, death, superficiality, meaning, and the market-driven commodification of artworks into luxury goods. Hirst’s is a deliberately provocative art of overt sensationalism and artistic self-promotion that plays upon preconceptions of what art should be. Through it, he has refashioned the romantic ideal of the artist as visionary-craftsman into a contemporary and entrepreneurial figure of modern commerce.

Hirst came to prominence as the leading light of the Young British Artists who emerged in London during the late 1980s. He studied at Goldsmiths under celebrated Irish-American artist Michael Craig-Martin, and organised the formative Freeze exhibition of 1988, which drew the art world’s attention to the YBAs for the first time. In 1992 his work was included in Charles Saatchi’s Young British Artists exhibition and, having been shortlisted in 1992, Hirst won the Turner Prize in 1995 with a body of work including his controversial bisected cow and calf, Mother and Child (Divided) (1993). His seminal preserved shark, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), was exhibited first in 1991, but more famously formed the centrepiece of Saatchi’s monumental Royal Academy YBA exhibition, Sensation, in 1997.

Hirst would return time and again to the various methods and mediums he innovated through the 1990s. His first works using butterflies, both living and incarcerated in paint, such as In and Out of Love (1991), appeared in the early 1990s. His pharmaceutical pieces culminated in the 1998 opening of his Pharmacy restaurant-artwork in London’s Notting Hill. And his ‘spin’ and ‘spot’ paintings both began to appear from the mid-1990s.

In 2007 he produced arguably his most controversial work, For the Love of God (2007), a platinum-cast human skull veneered with 8,601 diamonds.

Upcoming lots by this artist