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Last Updated: Friday, 28 April 2006, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Saatchi scours web for art talent
Loco Loco by Sebastian Egana
Artists such as Chilean Sebastian Egana can post their work for free
Art mogul Charles Saatchi has turned to the web to hunt new talent after setting up a site for undiscovered artists show off their work.

Saatchi, who championed the likes of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin in the 1990s, has launched a Your Gallery section on his Saatchi Gallery website.

More than 500 artists have already posted their work for free.

The site lets collectors and galleries around the world view talent and buy paintings direct from artists.

Saatchi is expected to keep a close eye on the site but says the main aim is to help the wider art community.

He hopes to offer collectors and artists a way to save money by cutting out art dealers - although dealers can also use the site.

The internet has helped the art world to break its veneer
Stella Vine
"The viability and relevance of the project might also impact on the way that much business is conducted within the art world in the future," a statement said.

Artist Stella Vine said: "I wish this had been available to me when I first started.

"The internet has helped the art world to break its veneer and initiatives like this make it a little less precious and exclusive."

My Bed by Tracey Emin
Charles Saatchi famously bought Tracey Emin's soiled bed

Saatchi is one of the biggest art patrons in the UK, reportedly valuing his modern art collection at 200m in 2003.

His taste for "Young British Artists" like Hirst and Emin helped propel the movement to prominence.

He opened a major gallery on the south bank of the River Thames in London in 2003 - but it closed last year when the building's owners won a High Court battle to evict it.

A new gallery in the former Duke of York's headquarters near Sloane Square in Chelsea will open early next year.

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