‘Some pieces call to you. This picture attracted me immediately, though it was not the best work in the sale. It is painted on an unbroken piece of slate, which is rare.
‘From behind, you can see how the thick slab gives the whole thing a three-dimensionality, a weighty physicality. And the wide frame is fun, like a big golden crown. So it is an object as well as a painting: I keep it on its easel on the floor.
‘I was there on the day of the sale, but bidding on the phone from a different space. It is good to have a sense of the energy of the room, but that can be deceptive too. You think, “That guy there, he wants my picture” — though actually you are making it up.
‘There was a bit of competition from another bidder, and then I was in no doubt that I wanted to win’
‘I am not the kind of person who sets a limit or has a plan; I am not made like that.
‘I have to find out in the moment what I feel. But there was a bit of competition from another bidder, and then I was in no doubt that I wanted to win.
‘A while ago I took the painting to my studio and cleaned a sample patch around Christ’s muscled torso. If I could find time to do the whole thing, then the sky would be bluer, the pale bodies would contrast more strongly with the dark areas.
‘But I have had this painting for 10 years now. I am used to looking at it and thinking, “You are so mine. One day I will take care of you.”’