Lot 231
  • 231

DAMIEN HIRST | Beautiful, Runny Egg on a Summers Day Nose Bleed Painting

400,000 - 600,000 USD
450,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Damien Hirst
  • Beautiful, Runny Egg on a Summers Day Nose Bleed Painting
  • signed twice, titled and dated 2006 on the reverse; signed on the stretcher
  • household gloss on canvas


Gagosian Gallery, London
Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above)
Sotheby's, New York, 15 May 2013, Lot 477
Acquired from the above sale by the present owner

Catalogue Note

“I believe that after Pollock created a distance between the brush and the canvas by flinging the paint, there was nowhere to go with painting…but people still make action paintings. The urge to be a painter is still there even if the process of painting is meaningless.”

Damien Hirst & Robert Violette, Eds., I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now, London 1997, p. 246

Explosive, celebratory and irreverent, Damien Hirst’s Beautiful, Runny Egg on a Summers Day Nose Bleed Painting is an ideal example of a spin painting by the artist. Executed in 2006, the painting’s vibrant composition and form exude both a youthful exuberance as well as a sense of reverence, and the work functions dually as a record of Hirst’s creativity energy and  as a visual manifestation of his career-long exploration of mortality. 

Though spin paintings played an important role in Hirst’s early performance works throughout the 1990s, he began making spin paintings as standalone artworks in 1994. Since that time, each spin painting has been produced in the same way: a circular canvas is placed on top of rotating machinery, and paint is applied at a distance with varying degrees of force, producing wildly varied results. This relationship between process and product encapsulates Hirst’s fascination with life and death in his artistic output. Through the mode of its creation, Beautiful, Runny Egg on a Summers Day Nose Bleed Painting exemplifies “the duality between a liquid or living state and a solid or dead one, capturing a sense of speed and material flux, which, however, is fossilized as soon as the canvas stops spinning and the paint finishes drying,” thus preserving in perpetuity “memories of fleeting moments of immediacy and intensity that have passed” (Andrew Wilson, “Believer” in Damien Hirst, Ed. Anne Gallagher, London 2012 p. 205). 

Revealing the origin of the series, Hirst explains: "'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"’ (the Artist, quoted in Mark Brown, The Guardian, 29th August 2012, n.p.). Beautiful, Runny Egg on a Summers Day Nose Bleed Painting, with its unexpected color relationships in aquamarine, bright yellow and deep scarlet, as well as its unique improvisational painterly rhythm, epitomizes this childlike sense of fun, wonder, and exploration. In Hirst’s words, his spin paintings, of which Beautiful, Runny Egg on a Summers Day Nose Bleed Painting  is a leading examplar, “immortalize a feeling or a collection of feelings, a fleeting, colourful happiness, they are like tracks in time, like footprints in the snow" (Damien Hirst, July 2016 in Sotheby’s, Bowie/Collector).