Damien Hirst - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Sunday, November 8, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Europe

  • Exhibited

    New York, Gagosian Gallery, Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings 1986 - 2011, January 12 - February 18, 2012

  • Literature

    Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings 1986 - 2011, exh. cat., Gagosian Gallery/Other Criteria, New York, 2011, pp. 590, 856 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Damien Hirst’s iconic Spot Paintings, a series now almost three decades old, are a recognizable symbol for contemporary art. The present lot, Rhodanine comes from the first of the thirteen sub-series, the Pharmaceutical Paintings, titled after chemical compounds. Each of these works engage with the most essential qualities of painting – color, form and composition – and relates them to the building blocks of science. Rhodanine is a paradigm for these signature works, composed of vibrant spots painted in shiny gloss against a stark white, rectangular canvas. The spots range in color from dark hues to saturated neons to soft pastels, they interact with each other in unique visual combinations, just as the individual components of chemical compounds; no two the same, they can create an infinite possibility of arrangements. Hirst acknowledged the series’ scientific parallels when he said, "the spot paintings could be what art looks like viewed through an imaginary microscope" (Damien Hirst in I want to spend the rest of my life everywhere, with everyone, one to one, always, forever, now, p. 246)

    Through this microscope, Hirst calls attention to how a flat surface can be transformed by a simple matrix of color. He once said, “The spot paintings always surprise me. There’s so little there but it looks so vibrant on the wall.” Minimalist yet poignant, surprising yet predictable, the mass of repetitive color in Rhodanine negates the spontaneity of expressionist painting styles like those of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and instead recalls the materiality of Pop Artists like Roy Lichenstein and Andy Warhol through careful mechanization. However, unlike these artists who use the dot as a means to produce an image, Hirst mass produces the dot itself, rendering Rhodanine with the most seemingly basic elements he produces a visually complex surface compound.

  • 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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household gloss on canvas
44 x 68 in. (111.8 x 172.7 cm)
Signed, titled and dated "Damien Hirst 'Rhodanine' 2008-2011" on the reverse. Further signed "D. Hirst" and studio stamped on the stretcher.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $365,000

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 8 November 2015 7pm