A naked painting of Bea Arthur is recently sold for nearly $2 million.
The nude painting of the late Golden Girls actress was auctioned off by Christie’s during the Post-War and Contemporary Art Sale in New York this week. The painting, by John Currin, was expected to fetch somewhere between $1.8 million and $2.5 million.
The painting ended up with a realized price of $1,915,750 (not including any additional fees).
Currin created Bea Arthur Naked back in 1991. Critic Peter Schjeldahl wrote in The New Yorker in 2003 that the painting was suspended somewhere “between the object of desire and the object of loathing,”
Christie’s Auction House writes: “Beautiful in its execution, infamous in the press, and simultaneously nostalgic and repelling with its subject matter, Bea Arthur Naked is among John Currin’s early master works … Here, the muted palette of warm earth tones, allows the viewer to focus on the sitter’s gaze, her smooth skin tone, that enigmatic smile, together with her wonderfully full and expressive eyes. We are familiar with the subject matter but not in the way in which it is handled; Currin mixes nostalgia with provocation.”
The winning bidder has not been identified.
Bea Arthur is best known for her Emmy winning roles in Golden Girls and Maude. She passed away from cancer in 2009.