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Artist Emin's grotty 'My Bed' to have long-term home in Britain

LONDON (Reuters) - British artist Tracey Emin's "My Bed", which caused a stir when it was sold at auction this month for 2.5 million pounds ($4.2 million), will be exhibited in Britain on long-term loan from its German owner, the Tate group of museums said on Tuesday.

The piece, which Emin created 15 years ago by making a montage of her bed surrounded by and covered with discarded condoms, stained sheets, empty bottles of alcohol and a small stuffed dog looking at it from a rug, caused a sensation in its day, raising questions about what was and was not art.

Created at a time when Emin has said she was going through a depressed period and that the work was a self-portrait of sorts, it had been expected to sell for between 800,000 pounds and 1.2 million pounds when it was offered by its former owner Saatchi Gallery Collection at Christie's.

Instead it was snapped up by a then-anonymous bidder for more than double the top estimate.

In a statement, the Tate identified the owner as Count Christian Duerckheim, who is a German industrialist, and said that he had "confirmed that the work will return to the UK and that a long-term loan to Tate is being finalised. Full details will be announced in the autumn".

"I am absolutely delighted that Count Duerckheim has agreed to loan such an important work to Tate for a period of at least 10 years," Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said.

"We look forward to displaying the work and are most grateful to Count Duerckheim for his generosity in creating an opportunity for visitors to see a work that now has iconic status."

In the statement, Count Duerckheim is quoted as saying that he had purchased the work because "I always admired the honesty of Tracey, but I bought 'My Bed' because it is a metaphor for life, where troubles begin and logics die".

The Tate described the work as one of Britain's most celebrated works of modern art.

"The piece gives a snapshot of the artist's life after a traumatic relationship breakdown and was short-listed for the 1999 Turner Prize".($1 = 0.5904 British Pounds)

(Editing by Michael Roddy)

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