Tracey Emin's My Bed has been bought by German industrialist and collector Christian Duerckheim, it has been revealed.
The art collector, who bought the piece for $3.8m to set the record for Emin's work earlier this month, says the bed will return to the UK on a long-term loan to the Tate museums.
The bed will spend "at least ten years" in London. Duerckheim explained his reasons for bidding. "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," he said.
The now-famous installation caused controversy on its release, with the unmade bed surrounded by highly personal detritus (cigarettes, condoms and empty bottles) from Emin's life - a representation of a traumatic break-up she had experienced.
It was then shortlisted for the 1999 Turner Prize and became a hot subject of debate, with the public forced to question the definition of art.
"We look forward to displaying the work and are most grateful to Count Duerckheim for his generosity in creating an opportunity for visitors to see a work that now has iconic status," said Tate director Nicholas Serota.
Duerckheim is descended from ancient German aristocracy, who fled to Bavaria following the Allied invasion of Germany in the second world war. He is known as one of the top art collectors in his country and regularly donates to museums, with the British Museum receiving a gift of modern German prints earlier this year.
The bed was originally bought by Charles Saatchi for £150,000 ($253,931) in 2000, showing a 14.5% pa increase on his initial investment and demonstrating the power of art to earn strong returns.
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