Damien Hirst leaves Gagosian

Damien Hirst, Doxylamine From Dali to Damien Hirst, The Story by Saffronart

Damien Hirst, Doxylamine
rom Dali to Damien Hirst, The Story by Saffronart

Manjari Sihare of Saffronart ponders over the latest news to hit the global art world

New York: Damien Hirst is in the news again. This time for his split with his primary gallery (also one of the world’s largest, but more about that later), Gagosian.  After a longstanding relationship of seventeen years, the gallery and the artist are headed for a split. Why? No one knows (yet!). Even Jerry Saltz’s Facebook page (my usual go-to for art world breaking news) has no mention. All we have are amicable press statements issued from both sides wishing the other success.

And success it will be, for both Gagosian and Hirst are unstoppable. According to a recent report by The Financial Times, Gagosian’s turnover was estimated at $925m this past year.  Likewise in June 2012, The Sunday Times cited Damien Hirst as the world’s wealthiest artist, with a fortune of £215m.

Damien Hirst poses in front of his work I Am Become Death, Shatterer of Worlds

Damien Hirst poses in front of his work I Am Become Death, Shatterer of Worlds

What we will miss are fruits of this lethal combo! It was the perfect marriage! Gagosian has hosted some spectacular exhibitions of the artist’s work, the most recent being a worldwide showing of Hirst’s Spot Paintings at the beginning of 2012. It also played a significant role in organizing a giant retrospective of Hirst’s work at the Tate Modern in London this summer. The exhibition went down in the institution’s history as the most popular one drawing almost half a million visitors.

The artist-gallery relationship is tricky as it is often ruled by power, from opposite points of view. There is no one-size-fits-all model. But Hirst has always been his own master, right from the beginning. He first came into news in 1988 when still as a student at London’s  Goldsmith’s College, he curated an exhibition in an abandoned warehouse to show his and his peer’s work. In 2008, he broke the art market convention of selling only through representative galleries. He side-stepped both his primary galleries, Gagosian in New York and White Cube in London to hold an auction of his works (mostly new) in London.  Interestingly this auction coincided with the fall of Lehmann Brothers and the beginning of the global financial crisis of 2008-09, but was a success nonetheless.

What does Hirst’s news coincide with this time? Is it the first sign of Apocalypse 2012 – an “artpocalypse” perhaps? Definitely not! In an industry where most relationships are made on a hand shake, none of these splits are carved in stone. Stay tuned for more on this story and other art world news in 2013!

The Story is Live!

Sneha Sikand of Saffronart on the launch of a new website for curated collections of beautiful and hard to find objects

New Delhi: The Storya new website by Saffronart, where you can browse, learn about and acquire desirable objects ranging from fine art, home accessories to jewels and timepieces has just launched. What is interesting is that the collections are not necessarily what you usually find in a Saffronart auction. Understanding the desire for people to acquire items that appease their aesthetic sensibilities, The Story by Saffronart has put together a mix of age-old tradition and innovation in its collections.

S.H. Raza, Maa…
Serigraphy on paper
Image credit: http://www.saffronstory.com

The artwork collections comprise limited edition serigraphs and prints from masters of the modern art world, both Indian and international, as well as revivals of traditional forms such as Bundi miniature paintings, and as Mithila paintings from Bihar.

Copperplate engraving, Gastaldi’s new map of India
Image credit: http://www.saffronstory.com

Other collections range from beautifully crafted Chinese wedding baskets, to an exceptional set of antiquarian maps dating to the 16th century that chart India through the eyes of European explorers and cartographers. Objects available in ‘The Story’ are listed on the website for a limited period of time.

While every collection on The Story is unique, together they represent the meeting of tradition and innovation, age-old craftsmanship and contemporary design. Each collection has been put together around a narrative; an account of a culture, place, custom, genre or technique. Some of these stories have also been woven around the aesthetic sensibilities, experiences and memories of highly regarded individuals- The Story’s discerning tastemakers – who have agreed to share their knowledge, collecting experience and good taste with you through the collections they curate.

Collections from The Story are now available and can be viewed and purchased on the website saffronstory.com.

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