Damien Hirst - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, June 7, 2023 | Phillips
  • “A veil is a barrier, a curtain between two things, something that you can look at and pass through. It’s solid yet invisible and reveals and yet obscures the truth, the thing that we are searching for.”
    —Damien Hirst

    Comprised of four giclée prints on aluminium, Damien Hirst’s Veils (H4) is a large-scale homage to the artist’s Veil Paintings executed in 2017. Presenting thick, colourful brushstrokes and the appearance of heavy impasto, the present work exemplifies the artist’s extended exploration of gestural painting and the management of colour, while simultaneously attesting to his mastery of the painterly technique.

    “Colour is just a powerful, uplifting thing. I think art should always be hopeful and make you feel good.”
    —Damien Hirst

    Realised in 2018, Veils (H4) takes the artist’s Visual Candy paintings from the 1990s as a point of departure – a series of contemplative, bright, and high-colour canvases produced in New York during Hirst’s early artistic career. Depicting numerous clustered and multicoloured dots of impasto, the four prints in Veils (H4) present constellation-like structures that seem to be in a perpetual state of transformation. Creating the illusion that the prints are composed of seemingly infinite layers, the present lot allows viewers to immerse themselves in Hirst’s world of vivid colour and grandiose gesture. About the Veil Paintings, Hirst explained: “I want you to get lost in them, I want you to fall into them, and I want them to delight your eyes and make you want to stay in the painting.”


    George Seurat, Study for 'La Grande Jatte', 1984/85. Image: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Alisa Mellon Bruce Collection, 1970.17.81

    Inspired by both Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism, Hirst’s examination of colour and its effect on the eye recalls Pierre Bonnard’s exquisite palette, Willem de Kooning’s mastery of large-scale canvases, and Georges Seurat’s Pointillist technique. While Seurat’s masterpieces are renowned for their polished and precise appearance, the studies for these works – such as Study for “La Grande Jatte” (1884-85) - are often characterised by looser brushstrokes, akin to those employed by Hirst. Through the concentrated layering of painted dots, Hirst’s Veils (H4) seem to both reveal and obscure something from the viewer. The artist notes that: “A veil is a barrier, a curtain between two things, something that you can look at and pass through. It’s solid yet invisible and reveals and yet obscures the truth, the thing that we are searching for.”


    “The veil paintings are a celebration!”
    —Damien Hirst

    Prior to the Veil Paintings, Hirst spent an extended period focusing on a series of minimalist paintings depicting a grid-like arrangement of coloured spots. First produced in 1988 and entitled Spot Paintings, the now infamous canvases were mostly painted by the artist’s many assistants. Characterised by a sense of mechanical reproduction, the Spot Paintings share the same orderly structure as the artist’s later Medicine Cabinets series. Conceived in 1989, the Medicine Cabinets series presents simple white shelves strictly organised with pharmaceutical pills and packages of prescription drugs. The Veil Paintings thus mark Hirst’s departure from the formality of the grid and towards a celebration of colour and abstract forms. Emblematic of Hirst’s artistic endeavours both conceptually and visually, Veils (H4) is a remarkable example of the artist’s extensive body of work and epitomises the diversity of his approach to image-making.

    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner
      Private Collection, London

    • Literature

      HENI Productions H4:1-4

    • Catalogue Essay

      Including Sans Souci (H4-1), Andromeda (H4-2), Garden of Dreams (H4-3) and Cannizaro (H4-4).

    • 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

Property from a Private London Collection


Veils (H4: 1-4)

The complete set of four giclée prints in colours, all flush-mounted to aluminium with metal strainers on the reverse (as issued).
all 92 x 126 cm (36 1/4 x 49 5/8 in.)
All signed in pencil on the label affixed to the reverse and numbered 29/75 in black ink on the reverse (there were also 5 artist's proofs), published by HENI Productions, London.

Full Cataloguing

£30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for £38,100

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+44 20 7318 4091

Rebecca Tooby-Desmond
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Head of Editions, Europe

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Senior International Specialist, Editions

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Associate Specialist, Editions

Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 7 - 8 June 2023