“My Bed”, which was exhibited at the Tate Gallery in 1999 and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize, sold for the significant sum during the postwar and contemporary auction at Christie's in London.
Consisting of an unmade bed with stained sheets and bedroom objects scattered in an abject fashion, the piece was designed to represent the state in which Emin would lie during periods of suicidal depression. It was one of the best-known pieces to come out of the Young British Artists movement of the 1990s.
The sale marked an auction record for the 50-year-old, who is widely recognised for her provocative artistic style. Prior to the auction, the piece had been in the hands of Charles Saatchi, who bought it in 2000 for £150,000. He displayed it as part of the first exhibition when the Saatchi Gallery opened its new premises at County Hall, London. The art collector and advertising executive has also installed the bed in a dedicated room in his home.
According to the auction house, the proceeds will go to the Saatchi Gallery's foundation.