As Charles Saatchi makes final adjustments to the opening displays in his new gallery this weekend, two of his most celebrated proteges are threatening to spoil the party.
Chris Ofili, the Turner Prize-winning artist renowned for his innovative use of elephant dung, is preparing to sell one of his most impressive works to Saatchi's arch-rival, the Tate.
Meanwhile, Damien Hirst, Saatchi's most famous "find", has dismissed the new gallery - which launches this week - as "pointless" and "a waste of time".
The artist has also confirmed that he will miss its opening night - despite the fact that its first exhibition will be a retrospective of his work.
Hirst told Time Out magazine: "I think it [the gallery] is pointless. Most of the work has been shown two or three times already. It's a waste of time."
Saatchi is said to be unflustered by the twin snubs. However, they are bound to take the shine off the launch of the millionaire advertising tycoon's much-anticipated new gallery, which officially opens on Thursday at County Hall, the cavernous former GLC headquarters on London's South Bank.
The piece Ofili is planning to sell to the Tate is Upper Room, a collection of 13 paintings of monkeys based loosely on Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper.
When shown at the Victoria Miro Gallery last July, it was widely acclaimed, with critics dubbing it "monkey magic" and praising the way it "pulses with energy".
At the time, Ofili, a publicity-shy individual, made it known through the gallery that he wanted Upper Room to end up on display in a public institution.
Now it has emerged that Sir Nicholas Serota, the director of the Tate, has approached private patrons to ask them to help raise the money needed to buy the paintings.
As Ofili is a member of the Tate's board, the gallery is not allowed to use its own acquisition fund to secure his work. However, it is understood that the artist has agreed to hold back from selling Upper Room to any other buyer until the Tate has been given a chance to drum up its estimated seven-figure asking price.
Neither the Tate nor Victoria Miro …