Charles Saatchi is one of the most famous, highly-compensated art dealers in the world, but last year, the world discovered a much darker side when pictures surfaced of Saatchi appearing to choke his wife, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, at a restaurant.
Lawson, 54, has since divorced Saatchi, 71. And Saatchi now stands to profit from the incident thanks to a number of paintings for sale on his Web site, SaatchiArt.com, that depict Saatchi with his hand around Lawson’s neck, re-creating the scene from the restaurant. One piece is actually painted on a cutting board. Prices range from roughly $255 to $30,000.
“Would it have been a better story if I had censored artists whose work might be personally disobliging?” Saatchi asked in an e-mail when reached by the Daily Mail.
Britain’s Independent spoke to one of the artists, whose piece is for sale for $10,000. He told the paper his painting wasn’t controversial.
“Saatchi is strangling Nigella but it’s also about him squeezing the art market,” said Darren Udaiyan. “It works on many levels. It’s a comment on the art market and how people control it.”
Saatchi has always maintained that he was not “throttling” Lawson. “I was not gripping, strangling or throttling her,” Saatchi said during testimony in a court case against the former couple’s assistants. “I was holding her head by the neck to make her focus. Can we be clear?”