Page last updated at 17:23 GMT, Tuesday, 16 September 2008 18:23 UK

Hirst sale breaks artist record

Damien Hirst
Hirst's zebra in formaldehyde only fetched half its estimate

A two-day auction of art by Damien Hirst has set a new record for a sale dedicated to one artist of 111m.

Sotheby's in London was crowded on for the final session of The Beautiful Inside My Head Forever sale, which has featured 223 lots.

But there were some surprises during bidding - a zebra in a tank of formaldehyde sold for just over 1.1m, half its lowest estimate.

It is the first time an artist has sold a substantial body of work this way.

Other works far exceeded the auction house's estimate, with a foal in formaldehyde in a steel and glass tank, entitled The Dream, selling for 2.3m on Tuesday morning.

Unknown Pleasures, a piece made from gold-plated steel, glass and manufactured diamonds that was expected to sell for between 400,000 and 600,000, eventually sold for just under 1.8m including buyer's premium.

A butterfly work of art entitled Reincarnated also fetched 1.6m, well in excess its 700,000 estimate.

Art expert Charles Dupplin congratulated Sotheby's and Hirst on the sale.

He said: "It's another landmark and an astounding day for the art market in a year that has seen many long-standing records demolished, despite the gloomy world economy."

On Monday, a work entitled The Golden Calf - a bull in a tank of formaldehyde, with its head crowned by a gold disc - sold for 9.2m, the highest price ever paid for a Hirst at auction.

The artist took a risk by offering the 223 pieces of new work directly through Sotheby's rather than a gallery, but Hirst said it was a more democratic way to sell art.

All but five of the lots sold and he will save millions by cutting out a hefty dealers' commission.

The previous record for a sale dedicated to a single artist was set in 1993 for works by Picasso, which went for a total of $20m (11m at 2008 prices).

Sotheby's total of 111m includes the buyer's premium.

Hirst auction 'due to fetch 65m'
29 Jul 08 |  Entertainment
New Hirst works to be auctioned
19 Jun 08 |  Entertainment

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