Charles Saatchi’s Art Collection
Charles Saatchi’s Art Collection is a large, publicly displayed collection of art. It has been described as being of “huge international importance.”
Charles Saatchi (1943-present) is an Iraqi-born British advertising executive and art collector. Saatchi, along with his brother Maurice, rose to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s as founder of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi.
By the mid-1980s, the remarkably creative and efficient agency was one of the largest in the world.
During that time Saatchi collected large amounts of art; the Encyclopedia Britannica website says that Saatchi was spending “millions annually on contemporary paintings and sculptures”.
In 1985, he opened the Saatchi Gallery in London to display his collection.
Saatchi’s collection is currently housed in the new Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, London. The Gallery occupies 70,000 square feet.
Works in his collection include Tracey Emin's 1998 installation My Bed – a scene showing a messy bed and items of clothing.
It also includes Damien Hurst’s 1992 work The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living – a tank containing a dead tiger shark in formaldehyde.
Other pieces by Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Anselm Kiefer, Andy Warhol, Julian Schnabel and Grayson Perry also form part of the collection.
Saatchi’s collection does not, however, remain permanent. UK Newspaper the Independent reported that the new Saatchi Gallery “had three complete turnovers of work since it opened … of Chinese, Middle Eastern and American art, and little of it had been seen in London before”.
Saatchi is also known for collecting amateur art work. The Independent reports that his website, ‘Saatchi Online’, displays works “by tens of thousands of artists – sculptors, painters, illustrators, photographers, videoists” with “no quality control, and much of it … at an amateur level”.
No formal value has been attributed to Saatchi’s entire art collection. However, in July 2010, he announced that he was gifting more than 200 works and his Saatchi Gallery to the British public.
The BBC reported that the artworks were worth more than £25m.
However, the plan “hit a stumbling block after talks with Arts Council England broke down” in September 2010.