Notorious Art Collector Charles Saatchi Is Selling Off Another 100 Works From His Gallery in a Low-Priced Christie’s Online Auction

It is the fourth such auction from the Saatchi Gallery's holdings, and includes works estimated to sell for between £1,000 to £15,000.

Julia Wachtel, Landscape No. 19 (Witness) (2014). Estimate: £10,000–15,000. Courtesy Christie's.

Charles Saatchi will sell 100 works by emerging artists from his Saatchi Gallery collection via an online sale with Christie’s next month.

“Handpicked: 100 Artists Selected by the Saatchi Gallery” is the fourth such public auction from the gallery’s holdings, but the first one to be held entirely online. Estimates for works range from £1,000 to £15,000 and the auction is slated for May 12 through 28. Saatchi, an eminent art collector, is renowned as one of the great speculative patrons of the Young British Artists era. His reputation took a turn after an alleged assault of his then-wife Nigella Lawson in 2013; they have since divorced.

“It’s a nice delve into what is really one of the most established and well-known public contemporary collections in the UK,” says Tessa Lord, the head of the auction house’s Post-war and contemporary art evening sale.

Included in the sale are works by David Brian Smith, Maria Farrar, Julia Wachtel, and US artist Mequitta Ahuja, a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow. Her Autocartography I (2012), which has been in the Saatchi Gallery collection since 2013, carries an estimate of £12,000 to £18,000. In an online Christie’s sale in February, another work by the artist fetched £60,000, outstripping its high £8,000 estimate and setting an auction record for he work.

One highlight on the more affordable side of things is a picture by French photographer Pierre Carreau, which has a low estimate of £1,000. The work, depicting a hyperrealist wave, has been in the Saatchi collection since 2015.

Lord says the decision to hold an online sale was a “natural progression,” and says she is optimistic after having observed a “considerable” amount of crossover between collectors who bid in person, and those who do online.

“People are very well versed in online bidding, and I think it’s almost a universal truth at the moment that people are becoming more familiar with engaging online in every aspect of life,” Lord says. “I think due to these extraordinary circumstances, that is only going to continue to grow.”

In 2013, Saatchi put up 50 large-scale sculptures for sale through Christie’s in an auction that had no estimates or reserves. The auction was seen by industry insiders as an attempt to “force dealers into bidding to support their artists’ prices,” according to the Financial Times, and it pulled in £3 million.

Another Christie’s sale from the Saatchi Gallery collection in 2018 included 50 more lots.

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