When hundreds of modern art works belonging to Charles Saatchi and others were destroyed last week in a London warehouse fire, the tabloids were quick to call it the end of Britart and most tried to dance on its grave. Not that the tabs don't know their art, but many experts believe the movement is equally likely to rise phoenix-like from the ashes with higher price tags attached. Established (and no longer so young) Young British Artists could see post-blaze scarcity and notoriety increase demand for their surviving works. Possible winners (and losers):
The late artist, whose acclaimed modern paintings anticipated Britart, lost about 50 pieces. Scarcity might mean remaining works, like Azalea Garden (1956), which shows at London's Tate Britain this week, will appreciate.
Although two of Emin's most iconic installations burned, including Everyone I Have Ever Slept With (1995), experts see no potential impact on the value of her other works, nor on her already fiery rep.
At first thought to have perished, Hirst's 7-m bronze statue Charity (2003) was one of only two items to survive the blaze. Hirst's oeuvre already fetches top prices a 1992 piece went for $1 million in May but Charity's brush with death is bound to increase both its cash value and cultural cachet.
Twenty of his paintings went up in flames, among them Sony Levi (1997). Maloney, not such a household name, lost works he'd want in any retrospective a first step toward critical re-evaluation. So the fire really hurts.