Hirst, famous for preserving animals in formaldehyde, heads the annual Power 100 list in ArtReview magazine. The 40-year-old is the first Briton - and the first artist - to head the ranking since it began in 2002. Art dealer Larry Gagosian is second, followed by Christie's magnate Francois Pinault, with American Bruce Nauman the next artist on the list at number nine, BBC News reports.
The Power 100 takes into account a number of factors, including auction sales and exhibitions in the 12 months to October. Hirst hit the headlines late in 2004 by fetching 11 million pounds in under two hours at a sale of his works, and months later his iconic 1991 work featuring a shark suspended in formaldehyde sold for around seven million pounds.
He quickly became known as the unofficial leader of Britart, which won fame abroad before it petered out in the late 1990s, according to Reuters.
The highest ever number of artists appear on the 2005 list including: Richard Serra, Neo Rauch, Richard Prince, Takashi Murakani, Jeff Wall, Marlene Dumas, Anselm Kiefer, Chris Ofili, Jeff Koons and Rachel Whiteread. A.M.