Tracey Emin's installation artwork My Bed — a personal piece that features dishevelled sheets and empty liquor bottles — has sold for more than $4.6 million in London.
Along with Damien Hirst's famed shark-in-formaldehyde work The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, Emin's My Bed is among the key works of the Young British Artists movement of the 1990s.
Estimated to sell for between £800,000 and £1.2 million (about $1.5 million to $2.2 million Cdn), the piece ultimately sold for £2.54 million (about $ 4.66 million Cdn, including auction house premium).
The work was offered by prominent art collector Charles Saatchi, who helped champion the works of Hirst, Emin and their other British contemporary artist peers.
Saatchi offered the work at a Christie's auction held in London Tuesday, with organizers declining to reveal the buyer except that the piece was heading to "somewhere important."
Having initially purchased the piece for £150,000 (about $275,000 Cdn), he was selling it to support the Saatchi Gallery Foundation.
Created in 1998, Emin's My Bed was a controversial artwork that purportedly offers a snapshot of the artist's life after the traumatic breakdown of a relationship. The installation includes an unmade bed, empty vodka bottles, cigarette butts, used condoms, a pregnancy test and other detritus.
Emin, whose My Bed sparked headlines and furious debate when she was shortlisted for the U.K.'s prestigious Turner Prize in 1999, was on hand for Tuesday's auction and visibly beamed when the auctioneer's hammer came down.
Setting a new artist record, the final price achieved is four times the previous amount paid for an Emin work at auction.