Jasper Joffe Sells All


Auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s, have come to prefer “tightly edited” sales in order to maintain good sell-through rates this seasont. But cashing is not, according to British artist Jasper Joffe’s recent statements, the reason why he decided to sell everything he owns in the “The Sale of a Lifetime,” starting today at Idea Generation Gallery in London. (Christie’s hosted the Sale of the Century earlier this year.) The 33 lots here start at £3,333, far more modest estimates than the YSL sale earlier this year. And with good reason! Joffe is selling some of his own artwork and a Tracy Emin monoprint he fetched at The Royal College of Art along with childhood teddy bears, books, photo albums, school reports, and love letters.

He calls the auction catharsis, an attempt to start a new life after a painful break-up with his girlfriend. “I suppose I hit rock bottom and I realized my life was in crisis” he said to the BBC. “I found that all the fixed things in my life weren’t as important as I thought they were.” It’s the timing of the sale, amidst the current recession, that  makes Joffe’s intentions look authentic. Looking at the artist’s recent career trajectory, which included a portrait of SS Chief Heinrich Himmler purchased by Charles Saatchi, an exhibition combining pornographic imagery with portraits of the British Royal Family, and a Free Art Fair that ran parallel to Frieze last year, one might perceive a certain desire for attention. Perhaps some difficulties to take the success of elder sister Chantal Joffe. But why start over in private? (LEFT: COURTESY OF IDEA GENERATION GALLERY)