Damien Hirst - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle Hong Kong Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Emerging onto the international art scene in the late 1980s, English artist, entrepreneur, and art collector Damien Hirst is foremost among the group identified by collector and gallerist Charles Saatchi as a generation of ‘Young British Artists’ (YBAs) — a group of provocative artists who graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London. Throughout his artistic career, Hirst has created genre-defying pieces from sculpture, prints, works on paper and paintings to installation and objects. Hirst is best known for his boundary-pushing, belief-challenging sculptures of animals submerged in formaldehyde, and his sustained investigation of art and beauty, seriality, repetition, as well as life and death. Never shying away from controversies and criticisms to stay true to his creative voice, he has been treading a path that is beyond compare, with market and academia affirming the value of his artistic practice.


     “It’s about love and realism, dreams, ideals, symbols, life and death... All these things are completely thrown off balance by a comparison I tried to make between art and life, in the upstairs and downstairs installations, a crazy thing to do when in the end it’s all art.”
    — Damien Hirst

    Bringing together a variety of different coloured and sized butterflies and set against a background of glossy emerald green, the poetic 2007 work After the Rain is a compelling example of Hirst's series of opulent butterfly monochrome paintings, echoing his personal understanding that art is a reflection of life. Debuting the butterfly motif with his ambitious installation In and Out of Love (Butterfly Paintings and Ashtrays) (1991) when he was 26 years old, Hirst considers the humble butterfly to be emblematic of death and resurrection, and thus symbolising the circle of life, growth, and change.


    Regardless of the controversies that come with it, the artist uses real butterfly specimens in his work as each butterfly was born with a completely unique pattern, mimicking the individuality of each human and their unique place in the world. The title, After the Rain, poetically alludes to the beautiful moments when storm clouds dissipate, and life stirs once more. The stillness with which the butterflies are preserved, encased underneath glossy paint, symbolises a moment in our own fluttering, fleeting daily struggles, allowing us a rare glimpse into the romanticism with which the artist captures this sentiment in his work. The tone of the emerald green additionally allows us proximity to Hirst’s own psyche. Having described colours as “moods” into the soul, and coupled with its title, Hirst here evokes a sense of renewal and growth. Together with an ironic display of creatures devoid of life, Hirst offers fresh perspective on the notion of living in After the Rain.



    Hirst talking about his inspiration at Tate



    Damien Hirst was born in 1965 in Bristol, and moved to London in 1984, where he worked in construction before studying for a BA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths college from 1986 to 1989. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1995—an annual prize presented to a British visual artist. In his career spanning over three decades, Hirst has been widely exhibited internationally, and his works are amongst some of the world’s most renowned private hands and prestige institutional collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago , and Tate Modern, London.


    • Provenance

      Gagosian, London
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Artist Biography

      Damien Hirst

      British • 1965

      There is no other contemporary artist as maverick to the art market as Damien Hirst. Foremost among the Young British Artists (YBAs), a group of provocative artists who graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London in the late 1980s, Hirst ascended to stardom by making objects that shocked and appalled, and that possessed conceptual depth in both profound and prankish ways.

      Regarded as Britain's most notorious living artist, Hirst has studded human skulls in diamonds and submerged sharks, sheep and other dead animals in custom vitrines of formaldehyde. In tandem with Cheyenne Westphal, now Chairman of Phillips, Hirst controversially staged an entire exhibition directly for auction with 2008's "Beautiful Inside My Head Forever," which collectively totalled £111 million ($198 million).

      Hirst remains genre-defying and creates everything from sculpture, prints, works on paper and paintings to installation and objects. Another of his most celebrated series, the 'Pill Cabinets' present rows of intricate pills, cast individually in metal, plaster and resin, in sterilized glass and steel containers; Phillips New York showed the largest of these pieces ever exhibited in the United States, The Void, 2000, in May 2017.

      View More Works


After the Rain

signed, titled and dated '2007 Damien Hirst "After the Rain"' on the reverse
butterflies and household gloss on canvas
121.9 x 121.9 cm. (47 7/8 x 47 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2007.

Full Cataloguing

HK$3,000,000 - 5,000,000 

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle

Hong Kong Auction 30 November 2022