Tough-as-Nails Pooty-Poot Is Also an Artiste

Russian PM's painting fetches $1.15M at charity auction

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 19, 2009 7:21 AM CST

(Newser) – Vladimir Putin has a murky past with the KGB, a black belt in judo, and the public image of a tough guy, so when the Russian PM tried his hand at fine art, patrons sat up. Putin painted a scene of snowfall seen through a window for a charity auction in St. Petersburg, with a florid "Putin" signature at the top (a pro finished the work). Bidding started at $620, but the canvas ended up selling for $1.15 million—not bad for a rookie.

Natalia Kurnikova, owner of a Moscow art gallery, purchased an oil painting by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a charity auction in St.  Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009.
Natalia Kurnikova, owner of a Moscow art gallery, purchased an oil painting by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a charity auction in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
An oil painting by Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin is sold at a charity auction in St.  Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009.
An oil painting by Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin is sold at a charity auction in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Russian PM Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with counterparts from Slovakia, Bulgaria and Moldova, unseen, at Novo Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009.
Russian PM Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with counterparts from Slovakia, Bulgaria and Moldova, unseen, at Novo Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009.   (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
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A painting by Vladimir Putin sold for over $1 million at a charity auction.   (reuters.com)

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