Discover art for sale. Buy and sell prints & editions online by Tracey Emin. The contemporary artist's unflinching studies of harsh topics, sexuality and brutal emotions has led to controversy and divisive public opinion regarding her work.
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YBA heavyweight and controversial, confessional, artist Tracey Emin is best known for her intimate sketches, sculptures and installations. Her practice spans painting, embroidery, film, drawing, sculpture and neon, yet remains linked by and grounded in themes of love, heartbreak, desire, pain, grief and the female experience.
The most expensive artwork by Emin at auction, My Bed bares the artist’s soul and grief after a breakup. In 1998, “I had a kind of mini nervous breakdown in my very small flat and didn’t get out of bed for four days,” Emin recalled. Looking at the chaos around her, she had an epiphany that her bedroom could be an installation piece and “it looked fucking brilliant” she realised.
My Bed was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1999 to much controversy and was purchased by art collector and patron Charles Saatchi a year later. Saatchi put the work up for auction at Christie’s in London on 1 July 2014, where it achieved £2.5 million – more than twice its high estimate and set an auction record for Emin.
Mad Tracey From Margate, Everyone’s Been There © Tracey Emin 1997
“I have always treated my blanket-making more like a painting in terms of building up layers and textures,” Emin said of her textile artworks. “I have never called them quilts. I have always called them blankets. They were most definitely blankets at the beginning because they were made with the intention of going on a bed.” When she sold her first blanket artwork Hotel International in 1994, Emin went to bed and “cried at the idea of [the work] going away”.
Mad Tracey From Margate. Everyone’s Been There, created in 1997, stitches together memories of the artist’s childhood growing up in the coastal town of Margate (which she writes more about in her memoir, Strangeland, published in 2005). The heartfelt early work was offered at Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in London on 16 October 2014, where it sold for £722,500.
Exorcism Of The Last Painting I Ever Made © Tracey Emin 1996
A ground-breaking conceptual piece, Exorcism Of The Last Painting I Ever Made was the result of a three-week performance at Stockholm’s Galleri Andreas Brändström in 1996. Working nude under the observation of gallery visitors, Emin completed 12 canvases, seven body paintings and 79 works on paper. She thought she would burn the lot in a ceremonial pyre at the end of the show but ultimately changed her mind.
Exorcism of the Last Painting – which included everything in the exhibition, from Emin’s art to the music CDs she worked to – was offered at Christie’s in London on 11 February 2005, where it sold for £722,500.
Image © Sotheby's / You Are There Now © Tracey Emin 2017