What Has Become of the Masterpieces of Britart? ; Charles Saatchi Is Selling Damien Hirst's Shark to an American Collector for Pounds 7m. Chris Bunting and James Burleigh Examine the Fate of the Works That Defined the Aesthetic of a Movement
Chris Bunting and James Burleigh, The Independent (London, England)
The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living
Present owner: Unknown New York collector
Where displayed: Expected to leave its home in the Saatchi Gallery, London, for the Museum of Modern Art, New York
Value: pounds 6m to pounds 7m
Damien Hirst's "pickled shark" launched the Britart movement. Hirst came to the notice of the art world in 1988 when he conceived and curated the Freeze exhibition in the Port of London Authority building but he became a tabloid celebrity in 1992 for his shocking preservation of a tiger shark in formaldehyde.
Charles Saatchi commissioned the work for pounds 50,000. Its sale for between pounds 6m and pounds 7m to an unnamed American collector at the weekend brought speculation that Mr Saatchi might be abandoning his patronage of Britart. Charles Thompson, co-founder of the Stuckist art group and an opponent of Britart, said: "He is denying he is dumping it but how can the Saatchi Gallery exhibit Britart when the main exhibit is no longer there? It is like a court without a monarch, people will be asking, `Where is the shark'?" Mr Thompson said: "Saatchi, because of the power he wields, can make something relatively worthless into something worth a huge amount.
It is the not-so-blind leading the blind. When it reaches the top of the market he can sell at a huge profit. It is a self- fulfilling, money- making scheme." Matthew Collings, author of a history of the London art scene, said the shark price tag was unlikely to mean a boom in Britart prices. "At present, Saatchi says he is interested in painting. The idea is that there is a big return to painting and it is a good time to get out of Hirst."
Two Fried Eggs and a Kebab
Present owner Charles Saatchi
Sarah Lucas studied art at Goldsmiths College and co-ran an art gallery, The Shop, in 1992 with fellow artist Tracey Emin. The same year, she displayed her most famous work, Two Fried Eggs and a Kebab, the food nailed to a wooden table but symbolically a female nude. Charles Saatchi bought it for an unknown sum. Her work includes Au Naturel and Penis Nailed to a Board.
Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View
When made: 1991
Current owner: The Tate collection
Where displayed: Tate Modern, London
Cornelia Parker convinced the Army to blow up a garden shed filled with domestic objects and then collected the debris. Fragments of the shed and its contents were then suspended, as if in mid-explosion, in the shape of a cube.
When made 1995
Current owner Charles Saatchi
Where displayed Saatchi Gallery, County Hall, London
Marcus Harvey contributed an 11ft by 9ft portrait of the Moors murderer Myra Hindley to the aptly named "Sensation" exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1997. …