Number of spot paintings in the Hirst Empire

Damien Hirst /
Damien Hirst /

You might say an artist is bad when a newspaper graphic about their work makes you feel more than their work ever did. The New York Times has a story today about artist Damien Hirst’s spot paintings, which have been a subject of much speculation and argument. They are basically polka dots made with house paint. Most of them are done by Hirst’s assistants. And they fetch a handsome price on the market, which could cause some unease among those looking to protect their “investments.” NYT:

For buyers, dealers and auction houses, the prospect of an unlimited supply was a complication. A flooded market might affect the paintings’ future value — not a small worry when they can cost as much as $3.4 million.

Now the number is out. There are 1,365 spot paintings — for now. Hirst and his assistants are still making them so that number is going to go up. Their value to me most likely will not change.

The NYT has produced a nice graphic for those looking to see trends. The graphic confirms artworld values we already know: the bigger the painting, the more it will sell for (most likely). The earlier and the later work isn’t worth as much as the prime period (mostly). Amanda Cox’s graphic says more than Hirst’s paintings ever could:

Damien Hirst's spot painting prices / Amanda Cox,
Damien Hirst’s spot painting prices / Amanda Cox,
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