Post-War & Contemporary Art, London, February 2014


Young British Artists from an Important East Coast Collection

A generation of British artists redefined the relationship between contemporary art and the general public, and the exhibition central to this movement was Sensation. When it debuted at the Royal Academy, London in 1997 Sensation became a defining moment in the history of the young British artists (yBas). The Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening and Day Auctions at Christie’s are presenting a group of prominently exhibited yBas, all of whom were featured in Sensation, including Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Chris Ofili and Jenny Saville.

Inspired by the legacy of Marcel Duchamp’s readymade as well as the Arte Povera and Conceptual Art movements, the yBas sought to re-invigorate the connection between art and life through the combination of previously unexplored media. Whilst the Conceptual Art of the 1970s laid the ground work for art of the idea, the often impenetrable presentation of these artworks was replaced by the yBa’s direct communication with bold visual statements. The immediacy of their work related directly to its audience in their refreshing honesty.

It is therefore no surprise that the key patron of the movement was the visionary collector Charles Saatchi, the advertising king whose collection had begun with American art of the 1960s and 1970s and whose taste for communication of bold ideas was summed up by his slogan for the historic Thatcher campaign of 1979 ‘Labour Isn’t Working’. Hailed as the defining exhibition of the 1990s, Sensation presented the most prominent and celebrated works of its time including Jenny Saville’s iconic large scale self-portrait, Plan, depicting the artist’s own corpulent flesh blueprinted by the plastic surgeon’s pen, Chris Ofili’s dazzling painting Popcorn Tits, festooned with glitter and elephant dung, and Gary Hume’s glossy panel Vicious, whose arresting beauty somehow clashes against its title.

To learn more Sensation and the young British artists, visit

Still Sensational: Groundbreaking works from Young British Artists

Paola Saracino Fendi, Cataloguer for Post-War and Contemporary Art, discusses highlights, from Sensational: Young British Artists from an Important East Coast Collection, to be offered in the upcoming Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 13 February 2014 in London.



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