Tracey Emin’s Bed Heads to Tate
A dream come true?
Before her infamous piece My Bed (1998) hit the auction block at Christie’s London earlier this month, Tracey Emin said: “What I would really love is that someone did buy it and they donated it to the Tate.”
Now her dream has come true. Well, almost.
The buyer has just been revealed as Cologne-based Count Christian Duerckheim, and although he won’t fully part with the legendary artwork, the German collector has committed to loan it to Tate for a minimum period of ten years.
Consisting of Emin’s actual bed, complete with dirty knickers, cigarette butts, and boxes of contraceptive pills, the artwork was created by the artist after she spent four days in it recovering from heartbreak.
My Bed was sold to YBA supporter Charles Saatchi in 2000 for £150,000 and had remained in the collector’s London home ever since.
The piece has always created a stir. In Japan, where it was first exhibited, visitors gasped at the dirty slippers but stole Emin’s underwear.
When it was shown in London as part of the Turner Prize in 1999, the British tabloids unleashed all their fury.
But, as the YBA enfants terribles turned art world nobility, the reception changed.
At Christie’s earlier this month, My Bed was presented as an iconic masterpiece. It flew past its presale estimate, selling for £2.5 million ($4.3 million).
This result propelled Emin into the league of the most expensive living artists. It quadrupled the former YBA’s auction record, previously set with another, much tidier bed, To Meet My Past (2002), which sold for £481,875 ($826,000) in October 2013.
Emin’s long-time dealer, White Cube owner Jay Joplin, secured the winning bid on behalf of Count Duerckheim.
“I always admired the honesty of Tracey, but I bought My Bed because it is a metaphor for life, where troubles begin and logics die,” the collector commented.
The piece, which is currently in Switzerland, will return to the UK at a date yet to be announced.
Art Shines in Naples, Italy, This Summer. Here’s an Insider's Guide to the Fabled City's Attractions and Diversions