Shift was purchased on the phone by Jen Hua, Sotheby's representative in Beijing, on behalf of Wang Wei, director of the Long Museum.
Record for Jenny Saville: Shift (1996-7) makes £6.8m / $9.1m / €8.2m.
Last exhibited at the epoch-defining exhibition “Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection”, Shift merits its revered place in art history as the standout work of Saville’s prodigious career. Offered at auction for the first time tonight, the painting tripled the artist’s previous auction record of £2.1m ($3.5million) set in 2014. (Lot 25, Est. £1.5-2m / $2.2-2.9m).
Shift was purchased on the phone by Jen Hua, Sotheby's representative in Beijing, on behalf of Wang Wei, director of the Long Museum. The work will be included in the forthcoming "She" exhibition of works by international female artists at the Long Museum (West Bund), July 27th to October 30th 2016.
Sensation was undoubtedly the most provocative and ground-breaking exhibition of contemporary art Britain had ever witnessed. On the 18 September 1997 record queues twisted around Burlington House for the opening of the controversial exhibition within. The unparalleled media storm surrounding this event launched a barrage of stories in the news with headlines such as: ‘Artrage!’ at the ‘Royal Academy of Porn!’ which caught the attention of a captive public. Amidst this media frenzy, the exhibition witnessed an unprecedented series of events: a record-breaking 300,000 visitors attended, Royal Academicians resigned and protestors picketed the entrance in outrage. The 42 young British artists whose work adorned the walls of the Academy’s central galleries triggered such an extraordinary and intense response in part because of their innovative recourse to reality and real life itself. Indeed, it is testament to their exceptional power that they could rouse such fervent reactions in a public that was so infamously apathetic to contemporary art.
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