Artistic impressions portraying the now infamous moment Charles Saatchi was photographed outside Scott’s fish restaurant with his hand around former wife Nigella Lawson’s throat have appeared for sale on the art mogul’s website.
Seven images of the couple, who divorced last year following the incident, are currently for offer for prices ranging from £150 into thousands on SaatchiArt.com – an American website with close ties to his London gallery.
According to Saatchi himself, the works were but a few choice pieces submitted by more than 40,000 active artists who use the site to sell their produce. Anyone can upload their work to receive 70 per cent of the asking price, while the site itself receives 30 per cent commission.
“Would it have been a better story if I had censored artists whose work might be personally disobliging?” he told the Mail on Sunday, rubbishing the idea put across by its reporter that ‘throttle art’ could become a new genre.
In addition to the Van Gogh-meets-Spitting-Image style painting by Cambridge-based artist Darren Udaiyan (pictured above – and yours for £5,870), 52-year-old Pete Jones submitted ‘Last Course’ – a picture of Lawson throttling herself, painted on a breadboard, which is up for auction for a cool £17,600.
Banned, censored and 'offensive' artworks
Banned, censored and 'offensive' artworks
1/8 'My Bed' - Tracey Emin
Emin, one of the Young British Artists, created arguably her most iconic and controversial piece of art with 'My Bed'. It was short-listed for the 1999 Tuner Prize but sparked public outrage and a media furore. Emin's own bed is displayed here, surrounded by evidence of her sexual, self-destructive exploits. Stained sheets, fag butts, empty beer bottles, condom and worn underwear can all be seen in this image of suicidal depression following a major break-up.
2/8 'Christ You Know It Ain't Easy' - Sarah Lucas
This 3D piece by English artist and Tracey Emin contemporary Sarah Lucas is made from cigarette butts and depicts Christ being crucified on the cross of the English flag. It is thought to be a comment on the difficulty of quitting smoking. Lucas took up the habit aged 9. Much of her work is designed to be shocking and provocative - someone is always offended.
3/8 'Fountain' - Marcel Duchamp
This scandalous porcelain urinal, signed R.Mutt, was rejected by the Society of Independent Artists in 1917 even though the rules stated that any submission would be accepted from artists who paid the fee. Pictured here is a replica of the 1917 piece. The original is believed lost. 'Fountain' is an example of Duchamp's revolutionary 'readymades' - ordinary manufactured objects designated by the artist as art.
4/8 'The Holy Virgin Mary' - Chris Ofili
The provocative Sensation exhibit at the Brooklyn Art Museum in 1999 caused great offence. Nigerian artist Ofili's depiction of an African Madonna surrounded by black bottoms and elephant poo was called 'anti-Catholic' and 'horrible' by New York's mayor at the time. So 'horrible' that Rudy Giuliani filed a lawsuit against the museum.
5/8 'Immersion Piss Christ' - Andres Serrano
Two Catholic activists partially destroyed US artist Serrano's artwork while it was on display in the south of France. Created in 1987, it represents a small plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of the artist's own urine.
6/8 'Western-Christian Civilization' - Leon Ferrari
Argentine conceptual artist Ferrari often dealt with power and religion in his work, using images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary with cages, frying pans and even meat blenders. Showing Christ crucified on a fighter plane, 'Western-Christian Civilization' was a protest work against the Vietnam War. Governments were constantly battling against Ferrari - he was exiled from Brazil and a 2004 exhibition of his work was temporarily forced to close when Pope Francis intervened.
7/8 'Bacchante and Infant Faun' - Frederick William MacMonnies
This bronze statue caused an uproar in 1854 when an architect tried to erect it in the courtyard of the Boston Public Library. Modern viewers will see little to get het up about but the nude Roman wine deity's 'drunken indecency' offended the Women's Christian Temperance Union. It was taken down to the more liberal New York instead and is now exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. MacMonnies earned worldwide fame as a result.
8/8 'Saint Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain' - Damien Hirst
No stranger to controversy, Hirst's original sculpture had no fig leaf to protect his modesty. The artist added the extra detail to prevent issues with Chinese collectors and left it in when the sculpture was displayed in Qatar. Nudity can offend Islamic culture, particularly in places where the general public has not been exposed to contemporary art.
Meanwhile, Jane Kelly’s simply titled ‘Art Collector Throttling a Cook’ is a comparative snip at £1,170.
“It’s not really controversial,” Udaiyan said of his piece. “Saatchi is strangling Nigella but it’s also about him squeezing the art market.
“It works on many levels. It’s a comment on the art market and how people control it.”
Naturally, sales of the artworks have drawn some criticism. Women’s Aid branded their inclusion on the website as “extremely insensitive” to victims of domestic violence.
Chief curator of SaatchiArt.com, Rebecca Wilson, defended the online gallery.
“Saatchi Art does not believe in censorship unless the material is pornographic or incites racial hatred,” she said.
Saatchi accepted a police caution over the incident in June last year that led to the couple’s bitter public divorce battle.
He hit the headlines for a second incident outside Scott’s restaurant earlier this month, when his current girlfriend Trinny Woodall was pictured in tears at the same table his fight with Nigella had occurred a year previously.
Woodall later dismissed the incident as a “storm in a B-cup” adding that she was “very happy” in response to one fan’s question on Instagram.