Colin Gleadell tells the story behind an attention-getting lot that will appear in Christie’s Contemporary sale in London next month:
Exorcism of the Last Painting I Ever Made consists of nearly 100 paintings, drawings and body prints which she made over two weeks in 1996, locked in a room inside a Stockholm gallery where she worked, naked, and visible through a series of wide-angle lenses embedded in the wall. Here, she battled with her self-doubts as a painter, working in the style of artists she admired – Egon Schiele, Edvard Munch and Yves Klein (rolling naked in blue paint and pressing her body against a canvas). These, together with her various personal effects – CDs, newspapers, food etc., were bought as an installation for a reported £20,000 by the gallery Andreas Brändström, which kept it until 2001 when it was offered at Christie’s with a £30,000 estimate. Emin’s dealer, Jay Jopling, believed to be acting for Tate Modern, bid for the work, but was beaten by Saatchi which bought it for £108,250. Next month the installation will return to Christie’s with an estimate of £600,000 to £800,000.