It was one of the most striking front pages in recent memory. Blood red on the news-stands, the 16 May 2006 edition of The Independent boldly proclaimed that there was "No News Today". But those compelled to look a little closer discovered a chilling footnote: "Just 6,500 Africans died today as a result of a preventable, treatable disease." This stark subversion of the newspaper format was the creation of Damien Hirst, whose macabre artistic meditations on death have earned him the title of king of the British contemporary art world.
Now readers of The Independent have the chance to own the original newspaper artwork created by Hirst. Featuring his trademark skulls and pharmaceuticals as well as a more hopeful and peaceful images of a dove and a pair of hands clasped in prayer, the print is signed by the artist and by Bono, the editor of the landmark (RED) edition.
"Hirst is undoubtedly one of the greatest artists of his generation," says Cristina Ruiz, editor of The Art Newspaper. He is also the world's most expensive living artist. Until last month he held the record for the most expensive work sold at auction for his pill cabinet, Lullaby Spring, bought for 9.6m. Although it was eclipsed by Jeff Koons' The Hanging Heart, which sold for 11.3m, Hirst retains the title in private sales for For the Love of God, a diamond-encrusted skull which sold for 50m.
A print with Hirst's name on it is similarly valuable. For a print version of a butterfly painting, buyers should expect to spend around 15,000 but, as always with Hirst, they can reach astronomical prices at auction, particularly because the artist rarely donates print works to charity. Just last month, a doodle of the now notorious skull, scribbled on a linen napkin, sold for 18,000; while a postcard-sized sketch of a human skull, bought for 35 at the Royal College of Art secret sale last year, later sold at Sotheby's for 15,000. So all in all, 5,000 is no bad deal. With all the money raised going directly to the Global Foundation which works to alleviate the devastating effects of Aids in Africa, you might say it's a priceless opportunity.Reuse content