Hirst's Golden Calf Sells for Record-Breaking $18 Million
Bad boy Brit artist Damien Hirst smashed his previous auction record with the $18.5 million sale of a gold tipped bull in formaldehyde on the first day of his major solo sale at Sotheby's in London Monday. Entitled The Golden Calf, the controversial artist's work exceeded the top end of its estimate by over $4 million, and toppled the previous record of $17.4 million paid for a Hirst work last summer, Bloomberg reports. The buyer's identity is unknown at this time.
Elsewhere in day one of the sale, a shark in formaldehyde work entitled The Kingdom was hammered down for $17.2 million - over $7 million above the high end of its pre-sale estimate. The piece in question is about half the size of the pickled shark which was sold to billionaire Steven Cohen for $8 million in 2005. The figures have many in the contemporary art world breathing a sigh of relief, as the landmark auction is seen as a bellwether of the much-hyped market's prospects in an uncertain economy.