Charles Saatchi  

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Charles Saatchi (born June 9, 1943) was the co-founder with his brother Maurice of the global advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, which became the world's biggest before the brothers were forced out of the company in 1995. In the same year the Saatchi brothers formed a new agency called M&C Saatchi. Many large clients followed, and their new agency quickly overtook their ex agency in Britain's top ten. He is also known worldwide as an art collector and owner of the Saatchi Gallery, and in particular for his sponsorship of the Young British Artists (YBAs), including Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.


He bought his first painting in 1973 on a visit to Paris with his first wife, Doris Lockhart. This was a realist work by David Hepher, a British artist, and was a detailed realist depiction of suburban houses. His taste has mutated from "School of London", through American abstraction and minimalism, to the YBAs, whose work he first saw at the Freeze exhibition.

His renown as a patron was at its peak in 1997 when part of his collection was shown at the Royal Academy as the exhibition 'Sensation', which travelled to museums in Berlin and New York causing headlines and controversy and consolidating the prime position of the YBAs.

Saatchi was said to be devastated when, on May 24 2004, a fire in a storage warehouse destroyed many art works, worth millions of pounds, from the Saatchi collection. One art insurance specialist valued the lost work at £50m.

He makes numerous visits in person to exhibitions, as well as seeking out artists' studios and little-known back-street galleries, particularly in East London, in order to discover innovative work. Many young artists have launched their careers owing to his interest in their work.

Saatchi admits he is shy and rarely gives interviews and makes few public appearances (though he awarded the Turner Prize one year), not even attending the openings of his own exhibitions that are usually glamorous events. He has answered readers' questions about his collecting and views on the art world in The Art Newspaper.

In 2005 he began work on a new gallery space in Chelsea, London, to open in 2007. This occupies the entire 50,000 sq ft. Duke of York Building.

In October 2006 he collaborated again with the Royal Academy, while his new building was being prepared, with the show USA Today. The exhibition featured many young US based artists, some largely unknown, who Saatchi believes will be the next generation of art stars. Also in October 2006 he answered readers' questions for The Independent Newspaper In much the same way as his Q&A with Art Newspaper readers, the answers were revealing.

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