Saatchi's hire purpose lets the wealthy house his art

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The Independent Online

He owns more art than most people could ever dream of - a collection that includes work by almost every major contemporary British artist - but for those with neither the bank balance nor the eye of the advertising millionaire Charles Saatchi, a slightly cheaper alternative is now available.

In response to repeated requests from the corporate world to borrow works from Mr Saatchi's extensive stores, a formal rental scheme has been established.

He has published a catalogue of 600 works of art on offer for hire. Nearly 140 artists are included in the 393-page catalogue including many of the biggest names in contemporary British art.

According to The Art Newspaper, which was shown a copy by a recipient, these include 12 Chris Ofili watercolours, Tracey Emin's set of photographs I've Got It All, two Damien Hirst spot prints, the Exquisite Corpses etchings by Jake and Dinos Chapman and Woman Reading Possession Order by Tom Hunter. There are also pots by Grayson Perry, the Turner Prize winner, and Stella Vine's portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales, Hi Paul, Can You Come Over. The prices laid out in a brochure range from £7,000 a year for the loan of five works to £20,000 a year for 20.

The solicitors Walker Morris sponsored the display of Saatchi works at the Leeds City Art Gallery earlier this year, the first time his works had been seen outside London, while the Saatchi Gallery's corporate patrons include Coutts Bank and Deutsche Bank.

Mr Saatchi, who was forced out of his gallery home on the South Bank after a row with the owners, is due to open a new gallery in a former military headquarters in Chelsea next year.

Martin Bailey, of The Art Newspaper, estimated that if a third of the catalogued works were borrowed each year it might bring in about £150,000. "I think it's probably a pragmatic thing for him to do," he said. "It enables people to enjoy the art rather than it being locked away. His stores may well be bursting at the seams. And it's a useful way of getting some additional revenue to fund his public gallery which must need quite a lot of money."

Some of the works in the catalogue have not been exhibited or published as being in the Saatchi collection before and not all of them are well-known names. Nearly all of them have been produced in the past year. Most might be regarded as middle-ranking works rather than key museum pieces.

A spokesman for the Saatchi Gallery would not discuss details of the new loan scheme but said: "Our corporate sponsors regularly express interest in borrowing works from the gallery so we put together a book to make life easier for sponsors to see what they would be interested in displaying in the[ir] headquarters buildings."

Mr Saatchi is currently helping to curate an exhibition of American artists, USA Today, opening at the Royal Academy on 6 October.

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