Tracey Emin's most famous work - My Bed - has gone on display at Tate Britain for the first time in 15 years. The 1998 work about the heartache of a relationship breakdown was bought last year by the German businessman and collector Count Christian Duerckheim.

My BedTracey Emin with her famous work My Bed

Emin, 51, had expressed a desire for My Bed to go to a museum and described the Tate in London as "the natural home." The gallery could not afford to bid at the Christie's auction where the work sold for £2.54 million - more than twice its estimate.

It was the first time the artwork - an unmade bed with dirty underwear and used condoms strewn across the sheets - had gone on sale since it was bought by Charles Saatchi in 2000. The sale opened at £650,000 and was bought by the White Cube gallery owner Jay Jopling, on behalf of Duerckheim.

More: Banksy ends New York 'residency' with sale of $600,000 Nazi painting

"I always admired the honesty of Tracey, but I bought My Bed because it is a metaphor for life, where troubles begin and logics die," the German said later.

Speaking at is unveiling at Tate Britain, Emin said she was "a bit tearful," adding, "It's fantastic, it's like the work has come home. Weirdly enough, it was actually first shown in Japan but it made itself when it was at the Tate, and the response people had to it is part of its identity."

She added: "I think now people see the bed as a very different thing. With history and time, the bed now looks incredibly sweet and there's this enchantment to it. I think people will see it differently as they see me differently. And there are things on that bed that now have a place in history. Even forms of contraception, the fact that I don't have periods anymore, the fact that the belt that went round my waist now only fits around my thigh."

My Bed was first displayed at the Tate in 1999, when it was nominated for the Turner prize. 

More: Did you spot Banksy's getaway van in Cheltenham?