Lot 4
  • 4

Damien Hirst

400,000 - 600,000 GBP
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  • Damien Hirst
  • Beautiful Double Orange, Pastel, Slash Painting
  • signed, titled and dated 1997 on the reverse
  • household gloss on canvas
  • 213.4 by 213.4 cm. 84 by 84 in.


Modern Collections, London

Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2002


Colour: The colours in the catalogue illustration are fairly accurate, although the pastel green tonalities tend more towards pale yellow in the original. Condition: Please refer to the department for a professional condition report.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

“I believe painting and all art should be ultimately uplifting for a viewer. I love colour. I feel it inside me. It gives me a buzz.”

Damien Hirst, I Want To Spend The Rest Of My Life Everywhere, With Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now, London 1997, p. 246.


A cacophony of riotous colour, Beautiful Double Orange, Pastel, Slash Painting is an arresting example from Damien Hirst’s iconic series of Spin Paintings. Bursting with a dynamic vitality, a spinning vortex pulsates outward offering visions of vigorous movement and unruly colour. Exuding a heady effervescence of psychedelic effect, an explosion of colour ignites from the epicentre of a circular shaped canvas. Meanwhile, as though accelerated by osmosis, outpourings of lime green and luminous yellow dominate the composition. Polychromatic streaks of playful azure and pronounced tangerine punctuate an otherwise chaotic arrangement, espousing a wholly complete and homogenous painterly surface.

The first Spin Paintings were produced on rectangular canvases in Hirst’s Brixton studio in 1992. Two years later he introduced the concentric canvases that are now widely associated with the series. Influenced by the post-modern privileging of chance and the aleatory, Hirst exerts a limited amount of control in the creation of these works. By pouring a succession of different hues of household emulsion paint onto a rapidly rotating canvas, Hirst creates variegated surfaces of gravity-informed colour that bespeak the centrifugal energy of their execution. Emptied over the canvas in a manner akin to Jackson Pollock as captured in the iconic photographs by Hans Namuth, Hirst’s application of paint combined with the mechanical spin of the surface is undeniably performative in its vigour. This kinetic energy is recorded in the final painting, the movement of which, according the Hirst, “sort of implies life” (Damien Hirst cited in: Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, On the Way to Work, London 2001, p. 221).

The lengthy and evocative titles of these works typically contain a staccato of rhythmical adjectives that mirror their chaotic facture and resultant compositions. Extolling an unbridled celebration of colour and movement, the Spin Paintings offer a chromatic symphony that is at once harmonious and in disarray. As Eduardo Cicelyn, the director of the MADRE Museum of Naples, has explained, “The Spin Paintings gather and amalgamate the individuality of every individual colour, introducing a mechanical rotating movement at the moment of execution, to make the colours participate in a primordial state, where order and creation dissolve and disengage from the meditation of thought and representation, to become pure expression of the basic and vital gesture of painting and its mythology” (Eduardo Cicelyn in: Exh. Cat., Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Damien Hirst: The Agony and the Ecstasy. Selected Works from 1989 - 2004, 2004-05, p. 42).

Driven by a desire to develop a populist approach to painting, Hirst cited Blue Peter – a UK children’s television programme that he watched as a nine-year-old in his home city of Leeds – as the inspiration for the Spin Paintings: “I grew up with Blue Peter. I got my idea for the Spin Paintings from an episode in the 1970s… I remember thinking: ‘That’s fun’, whereas art is something more serious… I just thought: ‘Why does it have to be like that?’... Actually, the better art is the art made with the spin machine” (Damien Hirst cited in: Mark Brown, 'Damien Hirst credits Blue Peter with idea for his controversial spin paintings', The Guardian, 29 August 2012, online). Reminding us of Warhol's paint-by-numbers works, Hirst preserves a childlike sense of wonder in his practice; indeed, as the present work attests, the Spin Paintings embody the euphoric ecstasy of child-like exploration. With this is mind, Hirst first introduced his Spin Paintings to the public in a rather playful and spirited manner. In 1993 Hirst and Angus Fairhurst hosted a ‘Spin Art’ stall at a street fair in London. Dressed as clowns, as per the request of performance artist Leigh Bowery, Hirst and Fairhurst invited members of the public to create miniature prototypical Spin Paintings. One year later, Hirst commissioned a scaled-up version of the same machine and started work on this now iconic series of paintings. Beautiful Double Orange, Pastel, Slash Painting utterly encapsulates the same joyful exuberance of Hirst’s street-stall Blue Peter experiment on an imposing scale; it is a rapt example of the ostentatious vigour with which the founding father of Young British art re-energised the practice of painting during the 1990s.