The controversial work features an unmade bed with sheets marked by bodily secretions and a floor littered with empty vodka bottles, cigarette butts and condoms. Offering poignant incite into the artist's emotional life it was created by Emin in her council flat near London's Waterloo station. It was shortlisted for the 1999 Turner Prize, exhibited at the Tate the same year, bought for $250.000 in 2000 by Charles Saatchi and was displayed as part of the first exhibition when the Saatchi Gallery opened its new premises at County Hall, London.


The piece, that now has an iconic status as one of the chef d'oeuvres of the YBA movement, was sold at Christie's and acquired by White Cube gallery owner Jay Jopling on the behalf of  Cologne based industrialist Count Christian Duerckheim. "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," said Duerckheim who has collected since the 1960s and amassed one of the leading collections of international contemporary art.

According to figures compiled by Bloomberg Rankings from Artnet's database artworks by the best-selling women have brought in 12 cents per dollar produced by those of their male counterparts since 2004. My Bed sold for five times the artists previous high, setting a new record for Emin at auction. Emin's New York dealer, also the seller of the piece, David Maupin stated that the piece was undervalued by the auction house - it subsequently sold for way over the high estimate predicted by Christie's.  Although this past season's results signal that women are starting to narrow the price gap auction houses need to do their part to not undervalue work by female artists.

"I have always felt My Bed belongs at Tate. And now it will be," the artist stated. Details of when and where the piece will go on display will be announced in the autumn.

See more Tracey Emin on Barnebys.