Download the HENI News app

Treasure from The Wreck of the Unbelievable has been wrecked

2 min read  ·  12 Apr 2023

After hitting Damien Hirst's sculpture, the Rolls-Royce ended up on the beach. Photo Palm Beach Police Department

A sculpture by Damien Hirst on display outside the home of Palm Beach collectors has been damaged in a car crash. Sphinx (2011), part of the artist’s “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” series, was knocked off its pedestal by a Rolls-Royce driven by accident through the oceanfront property.

A 66-year-old woman drove on to the property on March 31, hitting Hirst's sculpture and a fence and the sea wall before coming to rest on the beach, according to a Palm Beach Police report. The police released an image showing Hirst’s statue dislodged from its plinth. It is unclear if the work has been badly damaged.

The homeowners, who estimate Hirst’s sculpture to be worth around $3m, have been identified as the billionaire MoMA trustee Steven Tananbaum and his wife, Lisa, by Artnet News.

The driver has no recollection of the events leading up to the accident in Palm Beach

Officers said the woman, who was taken to hospital after the accident, had no recollection of the hours leading up to the crash, Palm Beach News reports.

Sphinx is among a number of sculptures covered by layers of coral, which were first displayed in Venice in 2017 at Hirst’s spectacular exhibition "Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable". At first glance the works on show at the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogna appeared to have been recovered after lying on the seabed for centuries.

The exhibition, which was ten years in the making, is Hirst’s most ambitious and complex project to date. Presented at the Pinault Collection's two spaces in Venice, it told the story of the ancient wreck of a large ship, the "Unbelievable", and the discovery of its long-lost and precious cargo.

Speaking at the time Hirst said: “When we see things encrusted in coral like this, they look even more beautiful. The corals sort of spoils the functions as well on objects, it becomes a kind of natural object. You know, you think it looks amazing the way it is.”

To keep up with news about Damien Hirst, see his HENI Dashboard.