Damien Hirst - Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale New York Wednesday, March 6, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    White Cube, London
    Gagosian, New York
    Private collection
    Sale: Sotheby's New York, Contemporary Art, November 15, 2006 Lot 552
    Acquired by the present owner from the above

  • Exhibited

    London, Gagosian Gallery, Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011. January 12 -February 18, 2011

  • Literature

    Damien Hirst, i want to spend the rest of my life everywhere, with everyone, one to one, always, forever, now, London, 1997, p. 245 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “ The colors project so much joy it’s hard to feel it, but it’s there. The horror underlying everything.”

    Introduced in 1986, Damien Hirst’s Pharmaceutical paintings have become his most widely recognized series to date. Appearing both structurally and spatially uniform, these rainbow freckled grids bewitch the mind, presenting one with a truly patternless pattern. The present lot, Levorphanol, 1995, is a well calculated testament to the pharmaceutical industry, contrasting the stimulation of color with the cold sedative of calculated form. Here, the evidence of the artist’s hand is simultaneously absent and present. The current lot, Levorphanol, 1995, employs the same famous, yet sterile grid pattern as the rest of the Pharmaceutical series. The rigid framework, in tandem with the precise execution of dots, alludes to the bleak nature of mass-produced drugs.

    Though some dots may seem identical, each one is slightly different, creating a disorienting effect. Like the drugs from which these paintings derive their names, the paintings are marketed with bright, eye-catching colors to lure in the viewer, while hiding their true effect until fully absorbed. The right triangle shape of the canvas reflects this unease in drawing attention to the void beneath. The viewer considers the brightly colored grid and expects a square shape to match the layout of the dots. Hirst, however, confines the grid to an unexpected shape; leaving the viewer to try and reconcile the grid with the void. Levorphanol, 1995, keeps true to its subject, leaving the viewer blissfully disoriented and wanting more, simultaneously.

  • 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.

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gloss household paint on canvas
27.1 X 27 in. (69 X 69 cm)
Titled “Levorphanol” across the stretcher bar.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $218,500

Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

7 March 2013
New York