Damien Hirst - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, March 7, 2017 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Sotheby's, London, 15 September 2008, lot 35
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    'I want the viewer to do a lot of work and feel uncomfortable. They should be made to feel responsible for their own view of the world rather than look at an artist’s view and be critical of it,' (D. Hirst, 'I Want to Spend the Rest of my Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One', Always, Forever, Now, New York, 1997, p.16).

    Captivating with its frantic energy, Beautiful Mider Intense Cathartic Painting (with Extra Inner Beauty) is the embodiment of Damien Hirst’s profound enthusiasm for the primordial state of creation and death. Emblazoned with Hirst’s signature imagery of the skull, this painting represents the physicality of man in opposition to metaphysical views of existence. Far from cheerfulness, the work alludes to darkness and danger. The multi-coloured fragments adorning the skull appear to be part of an ominous celestial scene such as a galactic explosion. Hirst balances this sublime spectacle with allegories of mortality, resurrecting his fascination with transcendence.

    The technique is evident in the method of paint application used by the artist; multi-coloured glossy paint is poured onto the canvas surface while it rotates, enhancing the intrinsic spontaneity of the process. The artist employs factory production methods to emphasize the dissimilarity between labour and concept; the factory produces, but is never involved in the conceptualisation of the work. The movement of the machine is also an element that provides satisfaction for the artist – 'Every time they’re finished, I’m desperate to do another one' (the artist, in Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, On the Way to Work, 2001, p. 221). Whilst reminiscent of Warhol’s factory-like production process, Hirst’s Spin series also mimics the expression of Jackson Pollock’s action paintings.

    Hirst began the Spin Paintings in the early 1990s and completed the first work Beautiful Ray of Sunshine on a Rainy Day Painting and Beautiful Where Did All the Colour Go Painting, in 1992. The following year he set up a spin art stall with fellow artist Angus Fairhurst at Joshua Compston’s artist-led street fair, A Fete Worse than Death. While living in Berlin in 1994, Hirst commissioned the manufacture of a spin machine, and thereafter began to seriously develop the series.

    Damien Hirst has become one of the most influential artists of his generation. His output is prolific and diverse in its use of varied mediums and artistic techniques. His obsession with death often dominates his production, while the Spin Paintings present compelling examples of the artist’s impressions of life, technology, and the sublime qualities of picture-making. Hirst’s work encourages the onlooker to re-examine his or her personal existence in relation to the relevant surrounding environment.

  • 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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Beautiful Mider Intense Cathartic Painting (with Extra Inner Beauty)

signed, titled and dated 'Damien Hirst 2008 "Beautiful Mider Intense Cathartic Painting (with Extra Inner Beauty)"' on the reverse; further signed 'D Hirst' and stamped on the stretcher bar
household gloss on canvas
213.5 x 213.5 cm (84 x 84 in.)
Executed in 2008.

£350,000 - 450,000 ‡♠

Sold for £449,000

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 8 March 2017 5pm GMT