'No Love Lost: Blue Paintings' by Damien Hirst at the Wallace Collection, London

Damien Hirst shows 25 new hand-made (yes, by himself!) paintings at the Wallace Collection in London's West End. The Wallace Collection is a high-class museum of mainly 17th - 19th Century Renaissance art located in a charming town house in London. Hirst seems to challenge the old masters.   I was really excited to see this show: I loved his early installations; however I was more and more disappointed by his art-as-luxury-good-mass-production of the recent years.   Unfortunately, these new paintings disappointed me even more

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'No Love Lost: Blue Paintings by Damien Hirst' 2006 - 2008, oil on canvas, (c) Photography by Billie Scheepers c. Damien Hirst. All rights reserved, courtesy of Wallace Collection

Damien Hirst successfully sold off in 2008 his entire stock in the famous Sotheby's auction 'Beautiful inside my Head Forever'. Ironically the auction took place at the same day when Lehman Investment Bank filed for bankruptcy. This day marked the end of the first art market boom in this Millennium.


He gave up many of his work series: The spin paintings, the dot paintings, the butterfly paintings and other substances.  Then he went back to his art school roots: Oil painting. This is part of the problem: As a world class artist in your mid 40s you can't get away with painting at a graduate student level.


One of Damien Hirst's Other Criteria shops on New Bond Street in London (c) photo by Premier Art Scene

These paintings are also an attempt to separate his ultra-expensive works of art from the artistic mass production by his art factory. He moved that to 'Other Criteria', his own Damien Hirst luxury accessory boutique chain.


'No Love Lost: Blue Paintings by Damien Hirst' 2006 - 2008, oil on canvas, (c) Photography by Billie Scheepers c. Damien Hirst. All rights reserved, courtesy of Wallace Collection

It is not surprising: If you hardly ever painted by yourself after finishing art school - you cannot expect to paint like a Renaissance master. To me his paintings look like a collage of - hand painted - Hirst signature icons (skulls, sharks, butterflies,...) and composition elements (cages, blue paintings, golden frames,...) of one of his idols:  Francis Bacon.


Damien Hirst is an excellent installation artist and a (self-)marketing genius.

His works will continue to sell well for rather high prices.


Yet, I am quite sure: This will not be enough for him.


by U.G.


Death Denied 2008 glass, steel, shark, acrylic and formadehyde solution (C) by Damien Hirst, photo (C) by Sergey Illin courtesy of the Pinchuk Art Centre

Read our review about the Damien Hirst retrospective at the Pinchuck Art Centre in Kiev, Ukraine


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