This might be the only art blog (if you can call it an art blog) that professes a love for Charles Saatchi, who is roundly despised, loathed, and condemned for his presence in the art world. What else can you feel for a man whose purchases instantly alter the value of all works around them or by the same artist? Or, perhaps still far worse than that amongst those with no time for facts but eternity for pretty pictures, the Saatchis’ constantly-mentioned role in the election of Margaret Thatcher during the Winter of Discontent? More recently, he has been the subject of a grotesque feud (if you can call something so one-sided) with Damien Hirst, an artist of some renown but arguable taste or talent. I just report the facts!
So it is with some curiosity that I report, again from the Arts section of The New York Times:
The art collector Charles Saatchi was in a generous mood on Wednesday when he bought almost all the works by three young students from their final graduation exhibit at the Royal Academy Schools in London, The Times of London reported. The student artists are Carla Busuttil, 26; Angus Sanders-Dunnachie, 28; and Jill Mason, 33. Mr. Saatchi’s early purchases helped begin the careers of now-famous artists including Damien Hirst, Tracy Emin, Natasha Kissell and Jake and Dinos Chapman.
Consequences: Busuttil, Sanders-Dunnachie, and Mason will see the value of their other works (past, present, future) rise. The value of the works that Saatchi purchased rises. Even if two out of the three artists do not make it, chances are one of them will persevere, and Saatchi will have made an outstanding investment. The investment, of course, has less to do with the work and more to do with the name, though the name is not that of the artist, but that of the purchaser. This is part of the reason for all the resentment. Many artists believe there is no role for a patron such as Saatchi in today’s art world.
They are wrong, and deep down they know it, many surely dream of the light Saatchi can shine on them. I do not profess to know much of the man, so I do not know what lies behind his purchases, and to what degree any motivation is based on aesthetic appreciation, but I respect his role in the market and look forward to many more years of his presence.