The Golden Calf by Damien Hirst Headlines Groundbreaking Sotheby’s Auction of Work by Artist
Sotheby’s London will present Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, a major auction of new works by Damien Hirst, on the15th and 16th of September 2008. Beautiful Inside My Head Forever is an historic sale which incorporates an extraordinary range of works by Mr. Hirst, all created over the past two years.
From monumental formaldehyde sculptures to new paintings which expand on the artist’s classic themes such as butterflies, cancer cells and pills; from exquisite new cabinets to insightful preparatory drawings, the works in the sale document the full breadth of the artist’s creative output.
Coinciding with the 20-year anniversary of the celebrated Freeze exhibition curated by Mr. Hirst in London, which launched the careers of Hirst and his contemporaries, the auction affirms Hirst’s position as a boundary breaker; one who has never been just an artist working in the traditional vein.
Beautiful Inside My Head Forever follows the now legendary Pharmacy auction, organised by Sotheby’s in 2004, which raised £11.1 million. The auction attracted an unprecedented number of bidders, many of whom spent hours queuing before the sale, eager to bid for a work by the UK’s leading 21st-century artist.
Damien Hirst said: “After the success of the Pharmacy auction, I always felt I would like to do another auction. It’s a very democratic way to sell art and it feels like a natural evolution for contemporary art. Although there is risk involved, I embrace the challenge of selling my work in this way. I never want to stop working with my galleries. This is different. The world’s changing, ultimately I need to see where this road leads.”
The centerpiece of the auction, The Golden Calf, is a monumental new sculpture: a bull in formaldehyde, whose head is crowned by a solid gold disc and whose hooves and horns are cast in 18- carat solid gold. Encased in a gold-plated stainless steel and glass box, it measures 215.4 by 320 by 137.2 cm. This exceptional work, which unites the artist’s interests in science, religion, beauty and death, is estimated to realize £8-12 million.
Cheyenne Westphal, Chairman Contemporary Art Sotheby’s Europe and Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s Senior International Specialist, said: “Damien Hirst is the leading artist of his generation. The extraordinary body of new work to be showcased at Sotheby’s is among his best yet: ambitious, exquisite and incredibly powerful.”
Jay Jopling said: “Damien has always been a mould breaker and I’ve stood alongside him in all his ventures including his strategic forays into the auction world, which have certainly helped to broaden his market. 8,601 flawless diamonds notwithstanding, ours has never been a traditional marriage and I look forward to many more adventures to come.”
Gagosian Gallery said: “As Damien’s long-term gallery, we’ve come to expect the unexpected. He can certainly count on us to be in the room with paddle in hand.”