Hirst Is Art World's Lehman

September mega-sale coincided with investment bank's collapse
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2008 12:21 PM CST
British artist Damien Hirst poses with his work "The Incredible Journey" at an auction house in London.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – With the collapse of Lehman Brothers having opened an “anxious new era” in financial circles and among consumers at large, the auction that brought artist Damien Hirst $166 million on Sept. 15—the very day Lehman went bust—clearly marks the division, Martin Gayford writes for Bloomberg. By year’s end, sales and auctions had plummeted and the crash had begun.

The pre-September art boom benefited artists, dealers and collectors—none more than Hirst, an entrepreneurial blend of all three. His blockbuster London sale, which featured animals preserved in formaldehyde fabricated expressly for the market, has become “as neat a metaphor for wider events as anyone could hope for,” writes Gayford, “though a pickled flying pig proved sounder than an investment with Bernard Madoff.”