Damien Hirst is most likely the richest artists in the United Kingdom with an estimated net worth of 215 million British Pounds, or roughly one-half billion in U.S. dollars. Much of his work in centered around shocking images of dead animals.
A classic example of a Damien Hirst work is a large tank in which a dead calf is suspended in formaldehyde. Perhaps his best-known work it titled, “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.” This piece is a 14-foot tiger shark also suspended in formaldehyde inside a vitrine display case.
Born in 1965 in Bristol, Hirst became a prominent member of a group called the Young British Artists. This was a lose group of visual artists that began to display their work in 1988.
To say that the art of Damien Hirst is unusual would be a vast understatement. An example is a creation for which he won the prestigious Turner Award. The work featured dead cows suspended in tanks of embalming fluids, but an original non-embalmed creation featured rotting cows. The work was banned by New York health officials because they feared it would cause public vomiting. He sold the piece for more than $55 million.
It was this work that made Hirst a world-renowned figure in the art world.
Although much of Hirst’s work consists of dead animals displayed in various states of suspended death, he also creates “spin paintings” and other creations that might be considered more traditional forms of art.
His career has also been controversial on a number of levels, and not just because of the highly unusual subject matter of his work. For example, Hirst sent shock waves through the art world in 2008 when he sold a complete show of his work at Sotheby’s while bypassing galleries.
The sale netted him nearly $200 million, but also caused outrage among Hirst collectors because of the negative price effect is had on his completed works.