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  • Provenance

    Other Criteria, London

  • Catalogue Essay

    Life and death, love and hate, science and religion: Damien Hirst questions systems of human belief. Influential to the artist is the fleeting existence of man, the question of the boundaries between extremes within the life cycle. Direct and simple use of raw materials allows the viewer to bypass conversation of the formal qualities of art and confront the bare essentials of human life. Thus, the work acts not only as a mirror but as awareness to the truths of existence.
    Hirst’s works function not in terms of traditional aesthetic but rather as an examination of the state of humanity. The physical process of creating the work holds equivalent importance to the conceptual ideas imposed by the artist. Technological interference in nature arouses debate of the bounds of humans.
    The skull, a signature image of Damien Hirst, elicits anthropological as well as theoretical dialogue regarding the history of man. As presented by the current lot, Happy Head No. 7, simple application of paint on a skull provides broad references to death, allotting poetic interpretation applicable to humanity in totality. In the present lot, Hirst married his common motif of the skull with his specific technique of painting as used in his previous Spin paintings series. Combination of previously realized ideas in his work contextualizes the artist’s pieces within the grand scheme of the progression of his career. Thus, the work is conceptually linked within the succession of his oeuvre.

  • 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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Happy Head No. 7


Gloss household paint on resin skull and wooden base.

9 1/2 x 9 x 9 1/2 in.(24.1 x 22.9 x 24.1 cm).

Signed “Damien Hirst” on the base.This work is unique from a series of ten Happy Heads.

$70,000 - 90,000 

Sold for $116,500

Contemporary Art Part I

13 Nov 2008, 7pm
New York