Charles Saatchi

charles saatchi by darren coffield

Charles Saatchi (b. 1943)  is the co-founder with his brother Maurice of the global advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, and led that business – the world’s largest advertising agency in the 1980s – until they were forced out in 1995. Later that year the Saatchi brothers formed a new agency called M&C Saatchi. Charles is the second of four sons born to a wealthy Iraqi Jewish family in Baghdad. The name ‘Saatchi’ means ‘Watchmaker’ in Turkish.  He attended Christ’s College, a secondary school in North London. During this time he developed an obsession with U.S. pop culture, including the music of Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry. He also manifested an enthusiasm for collections, from cigarette cards and jukeboxes to ‘Superman’ comics and nudist magazines.

Charles is known worldwide as an art collector and owner of the Saatchi Gallery, and in particular for his sponsorship of the Young British Artists (YBAs), including Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.  He is a notorious recluse, even hiding from clients when they visited his agency’s offices, and has only ever granted two newspaper interviews. He does not attend his own exhibition openings; when asked why by the Sunday Telegraph, he replied: ‘I don’t go to other people’s openings, so I extend the same courtesy to my own.’

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