Charles Saatchi Sends Tracey Emin’s “Historic” Bed to Auction for $2 Million

Tracey Emin, My Bed, 1998 Courtesy the artist, White Cube and Lehmann Maupin
Tracey Emin, My Bed, 1998 Courtesy the artist, White Cube and Lehmann Maupin

Über collector and Young British Artists champion Charles Saatchi is selling Tracey Emin‘s My Bed, the Telegraph reports. The piece will go under the hammer at Christie’s this summer, where it will come with a presale estimate of £800,000 to £1.2 million ($1.3 million to $2 million). This is a very conservative estimate according to Emin’s New York dealer David Maupin, who called the piece “historic” and “priceless.”

My Bed—a readymade of the artist’s bed complete with used condoms and dirty knickers—provoked much controversy when it was first shown in Britain for the 1999 Turner Prize exhibition. The piece sold to Saatchi for £150,000.

The artist called the sale “the end of an era.”

As the Telegraph‘s Colin Gleadell points out, Saatchi has picked his moment judiciously. High-end contemporary art is going through the roof at auction, and the Young British Artists are faring particularly well, with new recent records set for Jenny Saville, Gary Hume, and Tracey Emin.

The sale might be the last time the piece is seen in Britain. It was offered to the nation alongside 200 other pieces from the Saatchi collection in exchange for a museum status for the Saatchi Gallery. But the offer was turned down.

 


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