Auctions Contemporary art Market United Kingdom

Saatchi to sell Tracey Emin’s unmade bed

London collector hopes for a king-sized return

Emin installs her My Bed, 1998 for a show at the Saatchi Gallery in 2000. Photo: Mark Chilvers

Tracey Emin’s headline-grabbing, unmade My Bed, 1998— including dirty knickers, discarded condoms and empty vodka bottles—is being offered for between £800,000 and £1.2m by Christie’s on 1 July. If the sale is successful, it would make a nice return for its owner, Charles Saatchi (it is being sold to benefit his gallery): he bought the work for £150,000 in 2000, a year after the artist had been shortlisted for (but did not win) the Tate’s Turner Prize.

Emin, who says that Saatchi contacted her “a long time ago” to let her know his plans, says that she is “philosophical” about such an “iconic” work being auctioned for “the first, and I hope last, time”. Saatchi sold a later, four-poster version of Emin's bed—To Meet My Past, 2002—in November, also through Christie’s, where it sold for £481,875.

Emin acknowledges that her price levels, while “not phenomenally high” compared to some, may mean that the work can’t be bought by a museum. Wherever it may go, she says: “It’s still my bed. I love it.”

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