Charles Saatchi: 10 Facts You Don’t Know

Charles Saatchi is known to many as an advertising guru turned art mogul. His art is similar to the way Michael Jordan relates to basketball. Many Charles Saatchi wannabes consider how the advertising magnate has enormously influenced buying, selling, and art collection with him as the moving force of the modern age to reckon with. 

He is a famous but scarce personality to give interviews or even have public appearances. Saatchi comes from a Jewish family that relocated to London from Iraq when he was still in preschool. His first job was as a copywriter at the age of 18 in the advertising business. 

In 1970, he founded Saatchi & Saatchi with Maurice(Brother), a company that became a larger conglomerate and was considered the largest advertising firm with offices worldwide by 1986. 

Early in the business, Saatchi & Saatchi was creative and efficient as a proponent of global advertising. During Margret Thatcher’s political period, the Company identified with the conservative Party in Great Britain. There were so many challenges that the brothers faced by the firm pushing the brothers to resign and open a smaller firm, M&C Saatchi, in the mid-1990s. 

In the early 1980s, he was spending millions on contemporary paintings and sculptures annually. His collection included American minimalists like Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, and Sol LeWitt. There were other contemporary American and major European artists. 

Facts about Charles Saatchi

1. He has a difficult character

He is a titan in the world of art, but he is not amused by publicity. He refused to appear in his television show.

2. Iraq is his Ancestral Land

Charles was born in 1943 in Iraq, but his family relocated to London While there, Charles’ father established a prosperous textile firm.

charles saatchi

3. Philanthropist

In a gesture to honor their parents, Charles and his brother Maurice founded a Jewish synagogue called Saatchi Shul In Maida Vale, London, England, in 1998. In December of the same year, donations to a christy’s auction of 130 artworks raised £1.7, and the proceeds created bursaries at four art schools in London. 

Early the following year (Feb 1999), he further donated 100 artwork pieces from his collection to the Great Britain Arts Council. In July 2010, it announced donating the Saatchi gallery to the British public, and it had over 200 works of art. The collection was estimated to be £30 million worth. The Tate Gallery, Art for Hospitals, and Arts Council received a donation of over 100 works. 

4. Three divorces

Charles has been married three times and divorced. He was married to his first wife, Doris, referred to as a sophisticated woman who was multi-linguistic in 1973 but divorced her in 1990. The couple cohabitates before marriage for six years.

His second wife, Kay Hainstein, was an American who worked as an advertising executive. They got married from 1990 to 2000, and they are blessed with a daughter called Phoebe. 

In January 2011, he married his third wife, a British journalist cum author Nigella Lawson whom he divorced in 2013. And, she describes him as an exploder.

5. Sued his former Employee

Rahul Gajjar was Charles Saatchi’s right-hand man and financial chief. As the Conarco director, a company that managed Saatchi’s art collection for sixteen years, he faced financial mismanagement charges. However, Gajjar stresses that Charles verbally approved the loans, and he denies ever embezzling the Company’s assets.

charles saatchi

6. An Author

Unknown to many, Saatchi is an author who has published several books like Be the Worst You Can Be: Life’s Too Long for Patience and Virtue (2012). He treated these books as a platform to answer questions from readers and journalists. In 2015, he shed light on some of his older ads like Beyond Belief, Racist, Sexist, Rude, Crude, and Dishonest, but they are seen as offensive today. 

7. Favorite Museum

The Prado in Madrid is Charles’ favorite museum. He has a weakness for Goya, but being the private person he is, he describes the Prado as unfussy, not showing, and each visit strengthens his art belief of enduring importance. 

8. Proudest achievement

Although he has a huge ego, Saatchi describes himself as someone who doesn’t value pride. His big ego does not even make him proud. 

9. Highest Point

Charles’ highest sensation was when he was dynamic and built his advertising business and put up his art collection with ferocious energy. And, although he has fizzled out, he enjoys putting up art shows.

10.  Charles Cannot Paint or Draw.

Although Charles Saatchi is an art mogul, he cannot draw or paint!


Charles Saatchi is the mastermind who shaped advertising and art originality and sensationalism. His previous exhibitions have weaker reviews, and he agrees that there have been changes compared to Saatchi’s heydays. His brother Maurice has also quit the agency he co-founded following a financial scandal that has led to a collapse in profits.  

Saatchi never made a cameo, but he lent his famous big name to the BBC series School of Saatchi, in 2009. The show featured aspiring artists competing for an opportunity to display their work in a leading gallery.

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