Yellow Ball | The Frank and Lorna Dunphy Collection

London | United Kingdom

Those familiar with Damian Hirst, will no doubt be familiar with the names of Lorna and Frank Dunphy, former business manager of Damian Hirst himself. From June the 18th until September 2018, Sotheby’s London will celebrate what many art critics and enthusiasts consider to be one of the most unique collaborations of recent history. The collaboration in question is that of Hirst and his business manager Frank Dunphy. Business manager sounds so formal and, well, business-like, when in reality their relationship transcended that of business. Dunphy was a mentor to Hirst, and is often affectionately referred to as his ‘partner in crime’. As such, the Frank and Lorna Dunphy Collection hold some of the most unique and personal artworks that the artist ever created.

It is therefore truly remarkable that this exceptional collection will be offered for sale. This will be a two-part sale which will put on offer over 200 unique works of art that depict the meteoric rise of Damian Hirst, while simultaneously charting the revolutionary art scene of the 1990s by various other artists. This in itself is very special because both Frank and Lorna Dunphy were at the very heart of this radical movement. Due to this the Frank and Lorna Dunphy Collection can be seen as a “sediment sample”, clearly showcasing the different layers, change in movement and facets that the contemporary art-world went through during these years.

The Meaning Behind The Yellow Ball

Frank and Lorna Dunphy Collection
Damien Hirst Smashing Yellow Ball at Peace Painting, 2008 (est. £100,000–150,000)

We understand that art comes in all kinds of weird and wonderful forms and while some is subjective, the title ‘Yellow Ball’ in this instance is decidedly more personal and touching for the Dunphy’s. This year, the couple celebrate 30 years of marriage. It was the location of their very first meeting that inspired the name however. The two met around a snooker table in London, in the year 1981. This was the very first night in which the prestigious Green Room actor’s club allowed women to enter. Lorna was inside, instantly caught the attention of Frank Dunphy, who at the time was playing a game of snooker with his friends. It was when he was playing the yellow ball, that he clasped eyes on Lorna for the first time and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

Since then, the Yellow Ball has become hugely symbolic for the couple as they named their company Yellow Ball Management and were even presented with a painting by Damian Hirst himself, when they ended their working relationship with him. The painting they were presented with depicted a circular yellow ball with butterflies flying across it, which was entitled ‘Smashing Yellow Ball at Peace’ back in 2008. The painting is estimated to fetch between £100,000 and £150,000 when it goes on sale.

Frank and Lorna Dunphy Collection
Frank and Lorna Dunphy are celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year

Frank and Lorna Dunphy Collection

Frank and Lorna Dunphy Collection
Damien Hirst Psst, 1997 Given to Frank when he was ill (est. £60,000–80,000)

The sale is proudly presented by Sotheby’s and is characterized by drawings and iconic prints from Damian Hirst, that flawlessly reflect the legendary relationship between Frank and Damian. At the core of the collection is a series of works which Hirst made exclusively for the Dunphys, which were presented to them, in jest, as well as tokens of affection and appreciation. It is this healthy balance of work and play that has helped make the Frank and Lorna Dunphy Collection so intriguing for art enthusiasts from all over the globe. Highlights of the sale includes: ‘Bust of Frank’ by Damian Hirst, ‘Land and Sky’ by Gavin Turk, Damian Hirst’s ‘PSST’ and of course Hirst’s ‘Smashing Yellow Ball at Peace’ painting.

Frank and Lorna Dunphy Collection
Tracey Emin My Heart Is With You And I Love You Always Always Always, 2006 (est. £40,000–60,000)
Frank and Lorna Dunphy Collection
Damien Hirst, Bust of Frank, 2008, Estimate: £25,000 - £35,000

Sotheby’s London Auction
20 September 2018
Highlights Exhibition: 22–26 June
Online Auction: 11–21 September
Main Exhibition: 15–20 September

Images courtesy of Sotheby’s

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