Hirst
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A few quick questions. 1. Are these new paintings, painted by Damien Hirst himself, any good? No, not at all, they are not worth looking at. 2. So why are you writing about them at such length? Because he is very famous. 3. And why has the Wallace Collection decided to exhibit them? Because he is very famous. 4. And why did Damien Hirst even paint them in the first place? Because he is very famous.

Now let me put this at more length. Damien Hirst has painted some paintings, entirely by hand. So far he has made his name with other kinds of art: with assemblages, mainly involving dead animals and pills, and paintings, painted by other people. There have been the spot paintings, the spin paintings, paintings copied from photographs, all done by assistants. But now he has risked his fame, with some paintings done by his own hand.

And if that wasn’t enough, there’s an extra attraction in where these paintings are being shown., The Wallace Collection is a distinguished, old-fashioned venue, and chosen precisely as a traditionalist setting, to stress the way these new paintings have a place in the great tradition. As the artist has said himself, he feels they are “deeply connected to the past.” For the public, it’s intriguing. If you were expecting some outrage from the master of Brit Art shock, expect again.

Here they are, then, looking like history. In a long chamber, just off the Wallace’s main gallery of masterpieces, they hang on walls of sumptuous silk, and held in heavy old-master frames. There are 25 pictures, including two triptychs. Their collective title is No Love Lost, Blue Paintings. And they don’t look back that far. As you’d expect, they are most reminiscent of paintings by Hirst’s hero, Francis Bacon.

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The Independent

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