In brief

Damien Hirst Buys $57 Million London Mansion

Photo via Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan.com

Photo via Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan.com

According to the Daily Mail, Damien Hirst, the most famous of the original YBAs, has snapped up one of London's "grandest" homes for a reported £34 million ($57 million). The five story property, designed by architect John Nash, is described as "a stunning example of Regency architecture." It was put on the market last year though it is believed that Hirst may have paid well above the listed price of £34 million, the report states.

The former enfant terrible is planning an extensive renovation of the property. The latest acquisition confirms his position as the "world's most financially successful artist." Hirst, who has a fortune of $369 million according to the story, already has an extensive real estate portfolio, including his main residence in North Devon, set on 24 acres. He also owns Toddington Manor, a 19th-century estate that has 300 rooms. Hirst's tastes in property match his standing in the art market; he tops the artnet News list of the ten most expensive living British artists. In 2007 his cabinet Lullaby Spring sold for $19.2 million at Sotheby's London.

Perhaps Hirst took a cue from top-selling American artist Jeff Koons, who is currently building his own mega-mansion on the Upper East Side. Hirst's new digs have an "imposing" set of Greek pillars and a a frieze on the main structure. It was previously owned by Anne Van Lanschot, heir to a Dutch banking family. Princess Diana was reportedly a guest on at least one occasion.

The Daily Mail story calls Hirst's acquisition his "new masterpiece" and points out "Shark tank not included," a reference to his most famous work, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), which Hirst created and sold to mega-collector Charles Saatchi for a reported £50,000. It was later sold to hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen for a price said to be around $8 million and loaned to the Metropolitan Museum—though only after Hirst swapped out the rotting original shark for a fresher specimen.