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Hirst’s unburstable bubble

I got it wrong. Very wrong. More wrong, perhaps, than anyone has ever got anything wrong in the history of art, or at least the history of art market reporting

By Ben Lewis   October 2008

On the eve of “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever,” Damien Hirst’s two-day Sotheby’s auction in mid-September, I predicted in the Evening Standard that the sale would tank. Instead, it made almost £112m, way more than the £65m estimate and a world record for an artist. Many lots soared above their estimates, a couple going for three times the low figure. Fragments of Paradise, a huge cabinet lined with neat rows of industrially produced diamonds, fetched £5.2m, against an estimate of £1m-£1.5m. The star lot was The Golden Calf, a bull in a large gold-plated formaldehyde fish tank-a symbol of the…

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