ANY QUESTIONS?
FEEL FREE TO CALL US
NYC Office
212-710-4330



ENQUIRY
Art is about speaking to each other and by making an enquiry you can have direct conversation with us about artwork you find interesting.
Name *
Email *
Phone number *
Any Comment? *
* Required fields
DAMIEN HIRST | ‘Painting-by-Numbers’
December 14th 2023
Confronted by the media in the late-nineties, questioning the use of assistants in the creation of the spot paintings, Damien Hirst replied with few words and two new artworks titled Painting-by-Numbers. Delving into the beauty of infinity was more important than spending time pleasing the critics. In the spot paintings, representing one theme of many in his practice, Hirst found a source to endless sceneries; visualised in perfect grids and utilising colour to guide the emotions of the viewer. The red and blue DIY-kit was an amusing response to his critics, and adding an unexpected act of a gallery cleaner, Painting-by-Numbers contributed to the ever-present question: what is art?
by Henrik Riis
PRINT EDITION RELEASE
Right on time on a partly cloudy October morning, Mr Asare took out the key from his pocket, unlocked the door and stepped into the Eyestorm gallery in London in what was supposed to be the weekly cleaning of the white-walled space. Except on this Wednesday morning, it showed clear evidence of a party the night before; cardboard boxes of wine bottles, randomly placed dirty glasses and a wooden floor sympathising with the brisk and rough of the autumn streets outside. Although the space itself was a small mess, the big display windows facing the passing public - at this time of day rushing to the office - was a disgrace. The star of the event the night before, a new sculptural edition by Damien Hirst, was neatly placed on an easel, but around it - on a small table and a chair - “people” had left paint brushes, open tubes of acrylic paint; not to mention a half-empty take-away coffee cup, chopsticks, beer bottles, cigarette packets and a repulsive overflown ashtray. Thirty minutes later, Mr Asare’s had progressed from an initial sigh to filling a couple of binbags and dumping them outside, and in the process, unknowingly, made his claim to art world fame in the coming days.

What looked like a mess was in fact an art installation by Hirst, encouraged by Eyestom to give everyone a glimpse into what the artist’s studio looked like, as part of the promotion of the two editions titled Painting-by-Numbers. To the media the clean-up incident was seen as one more welcomed opportunity to have a go at Hirst, and at the same time praising Mr Asare as a member of the public who had the courage to tell the truth that the emperor was naked. Some newspapers went on to suggest that the cleaner should be offered a position as a curator of a public institution, as here was a guy who could tell good art from bad. Mr Asare handled his new-found fame with bravour and Hirst didn’t seem to mind. Within hours the bin bags had been recovered by the gallery’s staff and the “disgraceful” display was re-created in all its delightful or chaotic details, to be admired by the artist’s loyal subjects. Throughout the furore, Hirst’s reaction was limited to “Fantastic. Very funny”, undoubtedly loving being in the spotlight.
DAMIEN HIRST
Painting-by-Numbers (Red), 2001

Edition of 175
80(w) x 54(h) cm
31.50(w) x 21.26(h) inches
MAKE AN OFFER
Art is about talking with each other and via ‘Make an Offer’ you can have a direct conversation with us and suggest a price for this artwork.
Your Offer *
Name *
Email *
Phone number *
Any Comment? *
* Required fields
DAMIEN HIRST
Painting-by-Numbers (Red), 2001

Edition of 175
80(w) x 54(h) cm
31.50(w) x 21.26(h) inches
ENQUIRY
Art is about speaking to each other and by making an enquiry you can have direct conversation with us about artwork you find interesting.
Name *
Email *
Phone number *
Any Comment? *
* Required fields
Damien Hirst (British, b. 1965)
80(w) x 54(h) cm
31.50(w) x 21.26(h) inches
Cardboard box comprising of a stretched canvas with 90 enamel paints and 90 brushes.

Canvas stamp-signed in red on verso.

Framed in two perspex boxes; one containing the cardboard box and polyfoam packaging, and a smaller one with the empty canvas.
Edition of 175
PRICE
$ 26,205.00 Available from a private collection
MAKE AN OFFER
Find art trends here >
In 2001, Hirst was already well versed when it came to achieving media attention; any news was considered good news. Thirteen years earlier, Hirst and fellow student, Angus Fairhurst, had convinced a group of second-year students at Goldsmith College of Art into renting a run-down warehouse in London’s east docklands, fixing it up with some white paint and invited the public, the press and the art world to ‘Freeze’; a show organised by the students and exhibiting the works of soon-to-be graduates. It was a bold and unprecedented move and the art critics had mixed feelings about these young, persistent and rule-breaking artists. The show was refreshingly provocative and noisy with works such as Abigail Lane’s installation of oversized shirts hanging over two chairs and door paintings by Gary Hume. As a self-made rebel in world of advertising, the art collector Charles Saatchi loved every bit of it and in the coming years Saatchi would become an important sponsor to many of the Goldsmith graduates of the eighties and the nineties, brazenly promoting his private collection and the works of young British artists; a group later collectively known as the YBAs.

Amongst the novel sculptures and shocking photographs at the ‘Freeze’ exhibition in July ’88, Hirst’s spot paintings stood out. Grids and rows of meticulously painted circular spots - never two in the same colour - filled clinical white canvases, bringing a kind of visual order to the chaos around it. The endless combinations appealed to Hirst, and was his first step into a conceptual colour theory where hues are representative of emotions or moods; in contrary to theories exploring their physical attributes, such as wavelengths, or the interaction of colour which became a life-long exploration for the renowned artist Josef Albers. By the end of the nineties, Hirst had revealed a few hundred unique spot paintings where a far majority of them had been painted by a team of young art students under strict supervision of the artist himself. The media was outraged. This was one of Britain’s most hyped artists, selling his sought-after spot paintings but where few had been touched by the hand of Hirst. If the art world had reached new heights in hypocrisy, Hirst was the poster-boy.
DAMIEN HIRST
Painting-by-Numbers (Blue), 2001

Edition of 175
80(w) x 54(h) cm
31.50(w) x 21.26(h) inches
MAKE AN OFFER
Art is about talking with each other and via ‘Make an Offer’ you can have a direct conversation with us and suggest a price for this artwork.
Your Offer *
Name *
Email *
Phone number *
Any Comment? *
* Required fields
DAMIEN HIRST
Painting-by-Numbers (Blue), 2001

Edition of 175
80(w) x 54(h) cm
31.50(w) x 21.26(h) inches
ENQUIRY
Art is about speaking to each other and by making an enquiry you can have direct conversation with us about artwork you find interesting.
Name *
Email *
Phone number *
Any Comment? *
* Required fields
Damien Hirst (British, b. 1965)
80(w) x 54(h) cm
31.50(w) x 21.26(h) inches
Cardboard box comprising of a stretched canvas with 90 enamel paints and 90 brushes.

Canvas stamp-signed in red on verso.

Framed in two perspex boxes; one containing the cardboard box and polyfoam packaging, and a smaller one with the empty canvas.
Edition of 175
PRICE
$ 26,205.00 Available from a private collection
MAKE AN OFFER
Find art trends here >
The two box-sets, Painting-by-Numbers, released that October evening in London, was Hirst’s humorous response to the outcry. Studio assistants working closely with an artist in the creation of a masterpiece was nothing revolutionary, and it wasn’t invented by Hirst. It had been around for centuries, if not millennia. In 2001, Hirst simply took it a step further and invited everyone to become one of his assistants. Choosing between a red or a blue kit, designed to look like a pharmaceutical product and supporting the often unpronounceable titles of his spot paintings, the polyfoam box clearly declares the contents on the outside of the box: “nineteen by seventeen inch canvas, ninety enamel paints, ninety brushes”. On the canvas, ninety circular outlines had been printed with a number in the middle that corresponded to a number on the paint buckets; true to the spirit of the famous self-contained painting sets popular with children. All left to an aspiring artist assistant was to buy a box, take a stroll down memory lane, and fill in the awaiting circles.

Painting-by-Numbers is one of several of Damien Hirst’s thought-provoking works; this one questioning where the value to an artwork lies. Is it in the idea or concept? Or is it in the making?

Following the successful Valium, Opium and Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) from 2000 and Beautiful, Galactic, Exploding Screenprint (Spin) the year after, Painting-by-Numbers (Red) and Painting-by-Numbers (Blue) are two exceptional and unique editions released exclusively by Eyestorm in the three-year collaboration with Damien Hirst. On the outside of the box, Painting-by-Numbers comes with the statutory information of a pharmacy drug: its “contents” and “damien hirst, an edition of one hundred and seventy five, july two thousand and one”. Inside, all the tools required to make a spot painting are neatly presented, including a canvas stamped with Hirst’s signature on the back.

To view the edition in further detail and to find more information about available works by Damien Hirst, visit the artist’s page here.
 
Recommended Reading
Through a systematic study of the physical world, Damien Hirst discovers what a measured input of colour combined with mathematical regularities and randomness look like. Prior to being awarded the Turner Prize in ‘95, Hirst briefly deviated from the perfected grids seen in the famous ‘Spot’ paintings and allowed colour to roam freely on the canvas; intervened only by the laws of physics and thus giving science a voice within the constraints of his purpose-built mechanical device. The result of the journey was dazzling portraits known as ‘Spin’s. Brought to life through layers of inks, Beautiful, Galactic, Exploding Screenprint marks the debut screenprint from the series.
Read more ...
Recommended Reading
Through a systematic study of the physical world, Damien Hirst discovers what a measured input of colour combined with mathematical regularities and randomness look like. Prior to being awarded the Turner Prize in ‘95, Hirst briefly deviated from the perfected grids seen in the famous ‘Spot’ paintings and allowed colour to roam freely on the canvas; intervened only by the laws of physics and thus giving science a voice within the constraints of his purpose-built mechanical device. The result of the journey was dazzling portraits known as ‘Spin’s. Brought to life through layers of inks, Beautiful, Galactic, Exploding Screenprint marks the debut screenprint from the series.
Read more ...
WE HAVE CLIENTS LOOKING FOR PRINT EDITIONS
Street Meets Avenue
Do you own a print by Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha or other artists? Get in touch via the form below and we may know someone who is interested in the artwork.
 
READ MORE
 
CLIENT SERVICES
-
US
United States
212-710-4330
-
US
Europe
+44 (0)20 3397 3676
-
US
Rest of the World
+44 20 3397 3676
 
 
SHARE
SHIPPING TO COUNTRY
United States
 
PAYMENT METHODS
 

CONTEMPORARY ART IN YOUR LIFE

(c) 1999-2023 Eyestorm Artica Worldwide Ltd.

The artworld delivered to your inbox