When the work of artist Damien Hirst comes up in conversation, what do you tend to think of? Hirst’s work often abounds with high-concept flourishes, whether incorporating randomization or evoking mortality and luxury in a single work. Look deeply enough, though, and you might just find a couple of portraits in there – maybe even one featuring a very familiar face.
Hirst’s 2016 Beautiful Leonardo DiCaprio Looking Away Painting is part of his Spin Paintings series, though the title also anticipates his more recent “Beautiful Paintings” series. And on May 25, it sold for $1.2 million to benefit amfAR, a nonprofit dedicated to AIDS research and HIV prevention. As Far Out Magazine reports, the sale took place at the organization’s annual gala at Cannes.
Art collector Christian Levett donated the painting to the auction, and provided some additional details about how he’d come to acquire it on his Instagram account. “Happy to donate one of my Damien Hirst’s last night to raise money at the Amfar charity dinner 🙏🏻,” he wrote. “Donating it back in fact, as I bought it at Leonardo DiCaprio’s party in St Tropez in 2016.”
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As Far Out reports, both DiCaprio and Hirst signed the painting; the actor was also present at the event. And now, an unnamed buyer has an absolutely massive portrait of Leonardo DiCaprio’s visage for their own personal collection — and amfAR has $1.2 million more than it did prior to the gala. Not a bad tradeoff.
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