Damien Hirst donates pickled cow to Tate gallery

Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:15am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Multi-millionaire English artist Damien Hirst said on Thursday he was donating four major works to Britain's Tate Gallery, including a sliced and pickled cow and calf.

It is the first time Hirst, who recently sold a diamond-encrusted skull for $100 million, has made a major donation to a museum.

"It means a lot to me to have works in the Tate. I would have never thought it possible when I was a student," he said.

"I think giving works from my collection is a small thing if it means millions of people get to see the work displayed in a great space," he added.

The donated works include The Acquired Inability to Escape and the sculpture Life Without You. Both are from 1991.

The works also include one of the first in Hirst's series of fly paintings, Who is Afraid of the Dark? 2002, and the exhibition copy of Mother and Child Divided, 2007 -- a sliced and pickled cow and calf.

Tate director Nicholas Serota welcomed the gift. It came in response to an appeal he made years ago for donations from major British artists because the gallery did not have enough money to keep its collection contemporary.

"I am extremely grateful to Damien for his overwhelming generosity in making such a significant gift to Tate and for working closely with us to ensure we have an important range of his work," he said.

"With such a limited budget for acquisitions, and when art market prices are high, Tate is indebted to international contemporary artists such as Damien Hirst for working with us on building the collection," he added.

(Reporting by Jeremy Lovell; editing by Matthew Tostevin)

<p>British artist Damien Hirst poses with 'For the love of God', a life size cast of a human skull in platinum in this undated handout image released in London June 1, 2007. REUTERS/Prudence Cuming Associates/Handout</p>