Entertainment & Arts

Tracey Emin's My Bed artwork sold for £2.2m at auction

Tracey Emin's My Bed Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption My Bed sparked debate about the nature of contemporary art when it was shortlisted for the Turner Prize

Tracey Emin's controversial My Bed modern artwork has sold for £2.2m at auction at Christie's in London.

The 1998 work features an unmade bed and a floor littered with empty vodka bottles, cigarette butts and condoms.

The work, which was shortlisted for the 1999 Turner Prize, had been put up for sale by millionaire art collector Charles Saatchi who bought it for £150,000 in 2000.

It went under the hammer with a guide price of between £800,000 and £1.2m.

The piece gives a snapshot of Emin's life after a traumatic relationship breakdown.


The artist, from Margate, was in the packed auction room as the work was sold, to applause from the crowd.

My Bed, one of the key works of the Young British Artist movement, was auctioned to support the work of the Saatchi Gallery Foundation.

Christie's said that, with buyer's premium, My Bed went for £2,546,500, which is a world record for Emin at auction.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tracey Emin exhibited My Bed at the Tate Gallery before it was bought by Charles Saatchi

The auction house was unable to immediately reveal who bought the work.

Other works sold in the Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction included Francis Bacon's Study For Head Of Lucian Freud, which fetched a hammer price of £10.2m.

Divided critics

Emin, 50, who was made a CBE in the New Year Honours list in 2012, smiled as she left the auction after her piece - which was lot 19 - was sold.

She first made an impression outside the art world in 1997 with a drunken appearance on a television discussion show about the Turner Prize which ended with her pulling off her microphone 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 stood by her work which "changed people's perceptions of art".

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