UK's wealthiest artist, Damien Hirst, has found a buyer for his US$100 million diamond encrusted skull sculpture that had been on the market since early June. "For the Love of God" is a life-size cast of a human skull in platinum and covered by 8,601 pave-set diamonds weighing 1,106.18 carats. The single large diamond in the middle of the forehead is reportedly worth US$4.2 million alone. Hirst financed the project himself, and estimates it cost between 10 and 15 million. Hirst has had a good record in the past with sales of his controversial conceptual artwork. One of his most iconic pieces, the shark-in-a-tank piece "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" (1991) sold in 2004 for a reported £7 million.
I find Hirst's work very intriguing and fascinating. I had visited the original Saatchi Gallery in London a few years back when most of the "Sensation" artwork was still together under the same roof. I remember vividly his "pickled" pieces and they were thought-provoking even if you didn't care for conceptual art. His work deals with issues of life and death and I saw beauty and serenity in the same pieces that many found gross or ridiculous. Most of the pieces, that had been acquired for "pennies" before the artists became art-world stars, were sold off and a new gallery is scheduled to open in November 2007.