Tracey Emin's bed sells for £2.2 million
The controversial artwork, put up for sale by millionaire collector Charles Saatchi, sells for £1 million more than the guide price
Published 01/07/2014 | 23:25
Tracey Emin's controversial My Bed modern artwork has sold at auction for £2.2 million.
The 1998 work, which features an unmade bed and a littered floor including empty vodka bottles, cigarette butts and discarded condoms, went under the hammer at Christie's in London tonight.
The 1999 Turner Prize shortlisted work had been put up for sale by millionaire art collector Charles Saatchi, with a guide price of between £800,000 and £1.2 million.
Emin was in the packed auction room as the work was sold, to applause from the crowd.
Saatchi, who paid £150,000 in 2000 for My Bed, one of the key works of the Young British Artist movement, sold it to support the work of the Saatchi Gallery Foundation.
Other works sold in the Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction included Francis Bacon's Study For Head Of Lucian Freud, which sold for a hammer price of £10.2 million.
Christies said that with buyer's premium My Bed went for £2,546,500, which is a world record for the Margate artist at auction.
Christie's said My Bed was bought by an anonymous bidder.
Emin, 50, who went from rebel to establishment when she was made a CBE in the New Year Honours in 2012, grinned as she left the auction after her piece, which was Lot 19, was sold.
She first made an impression on the wider public outside the art world in 1997 with a drunken appearance on a television discussion show about the Turner Prize which ended with her pulling her microphone off and telling the audience "I've had a really good night out".
Two years later, she was shortlisted for the prize and exhibited My Bed at the Tate Gallery.
It divided the critics but began the process of making her one of the country's most famous living artists.
Speaking at Christie's in central London last week ahead of the sale she said she still stands by her work which "changed people's perceptions of art".
My Bed was on display in the foyer at Christie's during the sale.
Francis Outred, head of post war contemporary art for the auctioneers, said the "iconic work of British art from the 1990s" quadrupled her previous world record, achieving £2.546 million. Her previous best was £481,000.
Jussi Pylkkanen, the auctioneer and president of Christie's Europe, added: "Tracey is very, very happy.
"I just caught Tracey at the Serpentine party, I just called her to see how she felt about things and she said she was absolutely delighted.
"She was very nervous going into the sale.
"Thanks everyone for supporting the sale of that object, it meant a huge amount to her.
"People wondered why she was so engaged in the process of selling that object but for her that was her biography, that was a statement, that was a self portrait.
"It is quite unusual actually to have an artist so involved in their own works that for them it is a sort of step into the next stage of their lives.
"For Tracey seeing that here at the top of the stairs... it was incredibly meaningful."
Emin's work was one of four pieces which achieved a world record at the auction, whose 75 lots sold for a total of £99.4 million.
Bacon's Lucian Freud work accounted for more than a tenth of that, selling for £11.5 million including buyer's premium.