The sale of Tracey Emin‘s iconic installation, My Bed, which was created in 1998 after a difficult breakup, caused quite a ruckus at the beginning of July. It was not because the work is composed of a rumpled bed, condoms, empty beer bottles and dirty underwear, but rather because the YBA did not like the fact that the owner, Charles Saatchi, put it up for auction at Christie’s.
Charles Saatchi was apparently more interested in making a profit than respecting the artist’s wishes and making sure the work stayed on British soil. The work, which Saatchi acquired for £150,000 in 2000, sold for £2.5 million, a record for the artist.
Hower, Tracey Emin‘s wishes have been respected. The buyer behind the founder of the White Cube gallery, Jay Jopling, who bid at the auction, was in fact Count Christian Duerckheim, who has a reputation for supporting British museums. Last year, he donated 34 contemporary drawings to the British Museum, including several works by Baselitz, Sigmar Polke, A.R. Penck, and Gerhard Richter. Last week, he announced that he will lend My Bed to the Tate for at least 10 years.
“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”, said the businessman from Cologne.
Tracey Emin thanked him for his generosity, saying “Count Duerckheim has done a very generous thing. I have always felt My Bed belongs at Tate. And now it will be. I cherish the moment to install it there.”