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Last Updated: Monday, 1 October 2007, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
Contemporary art prices 'up 55%'
Damien Hirst  and his artwork of a diamond-encrusted skull
An investment group paid 50 million for Hirst's diamond skull
The value of contemporary art has risen by 55% in a year, according to a study of auction sales from around the world.

The annual Hiscox Art Market Research report also claimed modern art, produced from the late 19th century to the 1970s, has jumped in value by 44%.

The world's most expensive piece of contemporary art went for 50 million in August - a diamond-encrusted skull by Damien Hirst.

Art expert Charles Dupplin said it had been a "tremendous year" for art.

European record

Hirst's work, For the Love of God, was bought by an investment group.

At the time some critics dismissed it as tasteless while others saw it as a reflection of celebrity-obsessed culture.

One of the artist's trademark medicine cabinets sold for 9.65 million earlier this year, which broke the European record for a work by a living artist.

In April, a Banksy painting - Space Girl and Bird - sold for 288,000, a record for the guerrilla artist.

And when Claude Monet's Waterloo Bridge went under the hammer, it fetched nearly 18 million.

"It seems that every few weeks another record-breaking price is being paid for a leading artist," added Mr Dupplin.

"The market for this art has never been so buoyant."

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06 Jul 07 |  Entertainment
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01 Jun 07 |  Entertainment


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