July 15, 2021 4 min read

Damien Hirst - artist, entrepreneur, art collector and the self-proclaimed enfant terrible of the contemporary art world is experiencing something of a comeback. 

Previously best known in the 1990s as one of the 'YBAs' (Young British Artists) alongside Tracey Emin, Gavin Turk, Rachel Whiteread and others, along with artworks like The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, created used animals in formaldehyde and the world's most expensive artwork (a diamond-encrusted skull called For the Love of God), Hirst has never been afraid of causing controversy.

Never one to follow the traditional routes in the art world and in an unprecedented move by a living artist, in September 2008 Hirst sold-out his entire Beautiful Inside my Head Forever at Sotheby's by auction, bypassing his dealers completely and raising £111m in the process. The very same day Lehman Brothers went into administration and the Global Financial Crisis which had been bubbling for months finally came to fruition.

True to his working-class roots, Hirst has always wanted to get his art into the hands of the people and has been releasing limited edition works for the last 20 years.

His first print releases were a trilogy of spot prints (LSD, Valium and Opium), which were released by Eyestorm in 2000 in editions of 300, 500 and 500 respectively. Many different spot prints have followed over the years using different print mediums including screenprints, etchings and woodcuts released by a number of different publishers including Other Criteria and Paragon Press. These spot prints are now worth considerable sums on the secondary market and are highly sought after by collectors, particularly since the artist has said he will no longer release any others in this genre.

Other popular editions include The Dead (a series of metallic skulls) and The Souls (a series of metallic butterflies published by Paul Stolper and Other Criteria). The foil-block technique used on both these series are really astonishing and sure to be a talking point in any collection.

In 2011, Hirst released his first of a number of butterfly prints, including some huge editions called Big Love which feature butterflies screen-printed onto a huge heart (there was even a diamond dust variant) and in the same year he even popped-up at the annual Art Car Boot Fair, releasing a signed limited edition print with Turps priced at £300!

In 2012 he released a series of low edition inkjet prints of a number of his sculptural work featuring cigarette butts (Hell), jewels (Silver Tears and Gold Tears) and pills (Utopia, Black Heavenand Dark Black Heaver) in small editions of only 55 through Other Criteria.

2012 was the same year he also opened retrospective shows of his spot paintings at all of Gagosian's galleries around the world and in typical Hirst fashion he decided to publicise it by setting-up a competition called The Spot Challenge - anyone that could visit all eleven galleries in a two week period would be rewarded with an unreleased spot print. 128 people managed it and each received a copy of Hypothalamus Acetone Powder which was signed and dedicated to them.

In 2015 he released a number of new butterfly prints, which on first glance looked like stained-glass windows. The Psalm series (along with Beneficence and Miracle) were religiously themed and explored the artist's fascination with both death and religion.

In 2017 he released a series of images of medicine packaging  and retitled them into a number of editions. The titles (including Anarchy, Riot, Violence, Fight, Crash, Clash, Killer, Stop, Attack, Eat and Fuckoff) were typical Hirst. 

In 2018, Hirst released a series of six new editioned spot paintings in a new format - a diasec-mounted giclée print on aluminium panel through Serpentine Gallery in partnership with HENI. This release was the start of a new phase in the artist's creative development and in partnership with HENI he has released a number of these new format editions at affordable prices over the last two years, using timed releases or via a lottery. All of these editions have increased significantly in value since release and represent solid investment potential.

In 2020 amid the COVID pandemic, Hirst released a series of butterfly prints in small and large formats which were used to generate funds for the NHS. These prints represent great value and are all available at Appreciate Art.

In February 2021, Hirst released a set of eight cherry blossom prints entitled The Virtues, which were based on paintings from the same series he had painted during the COVID lockdowns.

In July 2021, Hirst announced a new and radical idea. He offered the chance to buy an original unique spot painting for $2,000, but there was a twist - the buyers would each receive an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) and the original painting which was signed, titled and numbered by Hirst would be kept in HENI's secure vault. The buyer then had a decision to make - whether they wanted to retain the NFT and have the original painting destroyed or destroy the NFT and receive the original painting. It will be interesting to see which medium wins out!

We currently hold stock and have access to a number of the editions in this blog. Please contact us or check the Damien Hirst page for further information. We are also looking for more Hirst works, so if you are looking to sell or consign please let us know!

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