Damien Hirst’s former manager Frank Dunphy to sell art collection

The Art Newspaper | Anny Shaw

Franky Dunphy, the man who helped turn Damien Hirst into one of the world’s richest living artists, is selling his collection at Sotheby’s in September. At the core of the Dubliner’s collection, which is expected to fetch between £6m and £8.4m, are personal pieces by Hirst, such as a 1997 pill cabinet given to Dunphy when he was ill and a paint-splattered bust created in 2008 for Dunphy’s 70th birthday. Dunphy, now 80, first started working with Hirst in 1995, an eventful business relationship that lasted until 2010. The duo met after Hirst’s mother heard that Dunphy’s accountancy practice looked after art world and show-biz figures such as Gene Pitney and Peter Grant, who went on to discover the band Led Zeppelin.

“Damien and I bonded over a game of snooker. He’d just won the Turner Prize, and I feel I became a bit of a paternal figure to him and he eventually asked me to be his manager,” Dunphy told the Independent newspaper in 2015. Hirst, meanwhile, once said: “I was a punk until I met him.” Dunphy played a key role in the defining moments of Hirst’s career. In 2004, he organised a fire sale of the paraphernalia from Hirst’s London restaurant Pharmacy, netting £11m. Four years later, Dunphy masterminded Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, the Sotheby’s white glove auction of 223 work that racked up £111m in two days. The sale made headlines, not least because all of the works were consigned directly from Hirst, cutting out the middleman of the gallery. Dunphy was also reported to be an investor in the £50m diamond-encrusted skull Hirst made in 2007…read more

Image: Damien Hirst with Frank Dunphy