Damien Hirst has garnered a reputation for deliberately removing the trace of his own hand in his artwork, by employing a number of assistants and technicians to realise his ambitious designs. So it was very interesting to see that the multi-millionaire artist recently left a tip in a Venetian restaurant in the form of a hand drawn sketch.
The artwork, which depicts the restaurant’s owner Giovanni Fracassi surrounded by a shark and butterflies, was left by Hirst, 51, after the artist had enjoyed a decadent meal of duck pasta at ‘Da Ivo’ in Venice.
The Owner explained the press and new found attention the artwork had attracted:
“A lot of celebrities come here and Damien has dined here before so I was not so surprised to see him. But most don’t leave such an extravagant tip. Before he finished, he sketched the design you can see on my wall today. Word travelled fast about what happened and in no time at all, I was inundated with offers.
The biggest was £250,000 from a Japanese collector, but I refused as it would not be right to sell a gift. But in the meantime, the insurance bill for my restaurant has gone up.”
It is likely that Hirst was in Venice in preparation for his forthcoming exhibition, which is being held simultaneously across the Pinault Collection’s two venues and opens to the public on April 9th.
The show titled ‘Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’ has been ten years in the making and will include “some 250 pieces in various sizes ranging in price from about $400,000 for small jade objects to $4m for a malachite head of Medusa”. The work has a certain nautical themed, with images emerging showing sculptures submerged in the ocean. It will also present Hirst's reemergence as an exhibiting artist after a number of years spent concentrating on curation, alongside his various other business ventures.
Meanwhile, it's recently been announced the forthcoming show at Hirst's Newport Street Gallery will be from mixed-media artist Ashley Bickerton. The major retrospective will display work spanning more than three decades of Bickerton's career and features almost 50 works, including both new and previously un-exhibited pieces.
‘Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’ will be the first major solo show dedicated to Damien Hirst in Italy since the 2004 retrospective at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples.
Watch this space for further information on the exhibition and for further news from Damien Hirst.