Topless Bea Arthur Painting Sells for $1.9M

As Christie's has record $495M night

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 16, 2013 12:51 PM CDT

(Newser) – No, Bea Arthur never sat for a topless painting. But that didn't stop artist John Currin from conjuring one up in his imagination in 1991, and last night it sold for $1.9 million at Christie's, reports the New York Post. It was part of a $495 million night, a record for any art auction, notes the LA Times. Works by Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jean-Michel Basquiat also did well, but there's no competing with a nude Arthur in terms of publicity. (The Washington Post recounts its long history of controversy, and the Daily Beast actually got booted from Facebook temporarily for posting the full image in an auction preview. Click to see the image in all its glory.)

Here's a cropped version of the Bea Arthur painting.   (Christie's)
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