Bidder scoops a Hirst painting for £200 at anonymous auction

When a buyer from the back of a crowded auction room put a bid in for lot 15, no one matched his modest offer of £200 for a painting filled with concentric circles.

The bidders, which included some of Ireland's foremost art dealers and media personalities, were at an anonymous auction at which a Damien Hirst painting was being sold alongside 41 others, but no one knew which one until after it was bought.

So the gasps of astonishment from the audience were understandable when lot 15 was revealed to an original work by Hirst, Britain's most bankable artist, which was created to feature in his famous "spin" series.

Some of the paintings which bidders had wrongly guessed to be a Hirst had sold for up to £5,000. Among them was a sculpture entitled Two Rats in a Drainpipe, made by three A-Level students from Hammersmith, west London.

The artist had donated the work, also titled Spin, to the auction at Flatlake Arts and Literary Festival, at Hilton Park, in County Monaghan. The festival organiser, Kevin Allen, who is a film director and brother of actor Keith, said the atmosphere was "electric".

"I had devised the idea and I had framed Damien's work myself on an oblong mount to put people off the scent. The works of art, which were anonymous and numbered, were brought out for a three-minute quick view, like a horse is at a ring.

"Five of Ireland's most prominent art dealers were standing at the front. When the bidding started, it was the best theatre I had ever seen," he said.

The work was bought by the film producer Allan Maloney, who already owns two Hirst Spin paintings, according to Allen, and so recognised the work straight away. But many were confused by other works in the auction that had been done deliberately in Hirst's style.

"Some kids who had donated works did spot paintings which Damien is known for and some did other spin paintings," Allen said.

Mr Maloney agreed to have his bargain-buy auctioned again. It was bought for £95,000 by Kevin Spillane, an Irish gallery owner.

Allen said Hirst had donated the painting in hope that it would go to a worthwhile owner. "He said if I give you this thing, I don't want it to be sold frivolously. I want someone to buy it because they like the painting," he added.

Johnny Madden, who runs Hilton Park and is Allen's father-in-law, said the atmosphere was all the more charged because the auction was being led by one of Ireland's most experienced blood-stock auctioneers, Nick Nugent.

"He got porters to bring in the lots in order and they walked across the stage with them," Mr Madden said.

News
people
Sport
Yaya Sanogo celebrates scoring the opening goal with Arsenal's English midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
champions leagueLive: All the latest from the Emirates and Bulgaria, where Liverpool face Ludogorets
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst- Insurance

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst - Insurance ...

Recruitment Genius: Property Manager

£25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent, growing Sales...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Multi-skilled graphic designer ...

Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solicitor

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solic...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?