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Damien Hirst (British, b.1965)
LOT ID: 72980
Victory over death, 2008

Etching / Engraving, Photogravure, on Velin Arches paper, with hand-coloring in gouache by the artist
47 х 42.7 in. (119.38 x 108.46 cm.)
Signed, and numbered
Edition 58
Lot description
The idea of the juxtaposing diamonds – exemplifying permanence (”diamonds are forever”) and a skull – a traditional momento mori (“Remember that you will die”) puts a new “luxury goods spin” on the old-fashioned still life painting style called Vanitas, made popular by Baroque artists of the 16th century. Vanitas, Latin for “emptiness” refers to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the futility of pleasure. It is apparent that Hirst has been brilliant in finding a strategy of reinvigorating thread-bare ideas of art-making (with a dash of irony) for some time. But not only does Hirst reinvent old ideas - like Warhol, he replicates them, creating a signature or “brand.” Hirst’s “branded” idea, diamond skull-screens, recall Warhol’s diamond dust shoe paintings and prints as well as Warhol’s skulls. Warhol’s shoe becomes Hirst’s skull, floating across a celestial void of sparkling black background.

As the celebrated bad-boy artist of our time, Contemporary British artist Damien Hirst’s (b.1965) œuvre is at once abstract, conceptual, romantic, baroque and minimal. Hirst carries on the legacy of Warhol with sensation-seeking, factory-made work that is as much about marketing as it is about content. Hirst's work has generated enormous controversy, in part for its morbidity and fascination with medicine, which is evident in several of his series: the encased dead animals in various states of preservation, the incorporation of butterfly wings into stained glass-like images, cabinets filled with pharmaceuticals, and diamond-encrusted skulls. Hirst, winner of the 1995 prestigious Tate Gallery Turner Prize, has been the most prominent and notorious member of the young British artists (YBAs). Hirst's work has earned him the right to exhibit in numerous venues worldwide including the Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2007), the White Cube, London, UK (2008) and the National Center For Contemporary Art Moscow, Russia (2010), among others.


Select Public Collections:
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY)
Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY)
Tate Gallery (London, UK)
Queensland Art Gallery (Brisbane, AU)
Victory over death by Damien Hirst
  • Victory over death by Damien Hirst
  • Victory over death by Damien Hirst
  • Victory over death by Damien Hirst
  • Victory over death by Damien Hirst
  • Victory over death by Damien Hirst
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