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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 November, 2003, 16:23 GMT
Saatchi sells back Hirst artworks
Charles Saatchi
Mr Saatchi is one of the UK's highest-profile arts patrons
Multi-millionaire modern art collector Charles Saatchi has sold a dozen works by British artist Damien Hirst back to Hirst's gallery.

They have been bought back by White Cube, the London gallery owned by Hirst's dealer Jay Jopling.

A spokeswoman for Mr Saatchi refused to comment on a report in The Times that he and Hirst had been in "a feud".

She said visitors to the Mr Saatchi's London gallery could still see famous Hirst pieces such as the pickled shark.

Journalists sometimes just want to write the story they want to write and that's OK
Charles Saatchi spokeswoman
In a statement released to BBC News Online on Wednesday, Mr Saatchi's publicist said: "We have sold 12 Hirsts back to White Cube.

"But so that visitors to The Saatchi Gallery at County Hall (in London) aren't confused they will still see The Shark, The Sheep, The Dots, The Butterflies, The Fish, The Flies and Hymn, the 20ft anatomical figure."

Damien Hirst
Referring to The Times story, she added: "Journalists sometimes just want to write the story they want to write and that's OK."

But she would not comment on the report's suggestion that the men had been involved in a "mounting feud" over how the works were displayed in the gallery, which is located on the south bank of the River Thames.

A spokeswoman at White Cube refused to comment.

The report said that Mr Saatchi had sold back "the bulk" of his Hirst collection, including the artist's notorious rotting cow's head and flies in a pool of blood and a pickled sliced pig.

The Times said both men would have profited from the transaction. It said the rotting head - said to have been made by Hirst for a few hundred pounds and sold to Mr Saatchi for 50,000 - could now be worth 1.4m.

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