Damien Hirst b. 1965


Damien Hirst is an English artist, entrepreneur, and art collector.  He is one of the young British Artists (YBAs) who dominated the art scene in the UK in the 1990s.  Death is a central theme in Hirst's works.  He became famous for a series of artworks in which dead animals (including a shark, a sheep and a cow) are preserved - sometimes have been dissected  (often bifurcated) in formaldehyde filled vitrines.  These arresting images have made him the symbol of Britart.


Hirst was born in 1965 in Bristol.  He grew up in Leeds before graduating with a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College in London where he was the dominant figure of a generation of British artists emanating originally from Goldsmiths College in London.  

 In 1995 he won the Turner Prize and in 1997 took part in the Sensations exhibition at the Royal Academy.  Shortly after these two events, his reputation and influence in the artworld were solidified. 


Hirst has always presented himself as an entrepreneur, artist and celebrity. Hirst’s September 2008 sale at Sotheby’s in London, entitled Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, grossed £111 million broke every rule in the book.  Hirst subverted his dealers and went straight to the auction room putting on an exhibition rivaling any museum retrospective.  The sale coincided with the collapse of two international banking giants, signaling the beginning of the credit crunch, but the sale was unaffected by the events and cemented the power and influence of the Hirst brand.


In 2017, he organised with Pinault Foundation a solo exhibition, in Venice contemporarily to the Biennale in two places in the city:  Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana.  The title is Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, purporting to present ancient treasures from a sunken Greek ship, with pieces that range from Ancient Egyptian-alike items to Disney character reproductions, encrusted with shells and corals.