Prices plummeting, lustre fading – has Damien Hirst jumped the pickled shark?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Works by the enfant terrible of YBAs have sold for 70 per cent of their original price

For two decades he was the enfant terrible of British art whose preserved sharks and spot paintings came to symbolise an era of excess netting their creator an estimated £350m.

But while the names of the 20th century's great artists such as Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Gerhard Richter have emerged more valuable than ever from the financial collapse, the same, it is claimed, is not true of Damien Hirst.

According to figures from the international art company Artnet quoted in an article in Bloomberg Businessweek, works by Hirst produced in his most lucrative period between 2005 and the £111m direct sale of his art in 2008 have resold for nearly 30 per cent less than their original purchase price.

Since 2009 one in three of the 1,700 pieces offered at auction has failed to sell at all. Even at this year's Frieze art show in London a number of works by the artist did not find a buyer while at Sotheby's in New York this month a 2007 work entitled Sanctimony narrowly failed to hit the lowest estimate by the time the hammer fell.

In the years surrounding the millennium, Hirst created a vast catalogue of products with the help of a team of assistants. But a 2009 exhibition of painting was widely derided whilst some critics have come to question the enduring value of several of the Young British Artists, of whom Hirst was the poster boy.

Much of the decline is down to a simple oversupply of his work, explained Georgina Adam, editor-at-large at The Art Newspaper and an art market specialist. The 2008 sale saw Hirst, 47, bypass his traditional dealers and offer to market 218 items, setting a new record for a one artist sale. Many were bought by Russian, Middle Eastern and Indian collectors as a "recession-proof" investment.

According to art market rumours, Hirst's dealers have regularly stepped in to bid up the value of his work, whilst auction houses are cautious of accepting too many pieces at once. At the 2008 sale, purchasers were offered generous financing arrangements.

Concerns are frequently aired over exactly how much money actually changed hands for his most expensive creation For the Love of God – a platinum-plated, diamond-encrusted skull – which boasted a £50m price tag. The skull was purchased by a consortium of investors led by Hirst.

Ms Adam said: "I think Hirst was a very good artist at the beginning but he has been a fabricator of luxury goods for a long time now. If you have a very early work that will remain valuable, but if you bought a print for £10,000 I don't think you are going to get your money back. However, there will always be a market for his early works."

Damien Hirst: Memorable misses

Underworld (October 2012)

Underworld, which sold for £241,250 at the Beautiful Inside My Head Forever sale at Sotheby's in 2008, failed to sell at Christie's in October.

Sketch (May 2012)

A sketch done on the back of a poster advertising a wrestling match failed to sell earlier this year. The auctioneers could find no one willing to go the reserve price.

Dicaprin (2011)

One of Hirst's spot paintings, which had sold for $1.1m at a charity auction in 2008, was eventually sold again last year for $600,000 after an initial resale failure.

For the Love of God (2007)

The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium which included the artist himself.

Killing Time (2008)

While his Sotheby's sale proved a huge success with 218 pieces selling for £111.6m, this work – a plastic box with a desk, chair, pills and a watch – failed to find a buyer.

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor