A 1991 portrait painted by John Currin called “Bea Arthur Naked” sold for a price of $1.9 million at the Christie’s auction house this week to an anonymous phone bidder.
Bea Arthur did not actually sit for this painting. Derived from a photograph, John Currin depicts the star of Maude, the 1970s sitcom, The Golden Girls.
“The Bea Arthur painting is from Maude,” Currin explains in a 2007 interview with New York Magazine, “which I used to watch as a kid. In the eighties, I didn’t have TV for, like, a whole decade. When I started watching again in the nineties, The Golden Girls was in syndication. When I had a loft with Sean and Kevin Landers, we’d always take a break in the afternoon and watch The Golden Girls. When I made the painting, I was living in Hoboken and still making abstract paintings, and I was very frustrated.
He recalls, “One day, I was hearing voices in my head rant about how bad my paintings were and I thought, ‘I might as well paint a picture of Bea Arthur, instead of these masculine abstract pieces.'”
Painter John Currin, has drawn some controversy with both admiration and outrage with his paintings of women in provocative positions. Some writers and artists even tried to urge art lovers from going to Currin’s shows in the early 90’s.
The Christie’s auction house noted, “Causing a stir among the contemporary female community, Arthur herself surmised, “Maybe he was attracted to the feminist movement of the 1970s,” Bea Arthur speculated regarding her portrait, “because of Maude, I was the Joan of Arc of feminism. He certainly couldn’t have done anything with Marlo Thomas of That Girl”
Don’t try to post the artwork on Facebook though. The Daily Beast’s social media editors were locked out of their Facebook for posting a photo of the portrait, an action the social network initially considered a violation of its terms. The error message was “account(s) could be permanently disabled if you continue to post things that violate our terms.”
When they were able to speak with a Facebook spokeswoman, she told the Daily Beast, “Our policy prohibits photos of actual nude people, not paintings or sculptures,” she told me. “Unfortunately, this image was erroneously removed under the same clause we use to prevent more graphic images from propagating on the site.”
Topless Portrait of Bea Arthur Auctioned Off
Artist John Currin’s controversial “Bea Arthur Naked” painting (which she didn’t pose for) has sold at auction for a huge amount of money!
Golden Girl Bea Arthur Nude Could Fetch Millions
Most of us could also admit that a nude painting of Bea Arthur ever crossed our mind watching the ‘Golden Girls.’ It’s now crossing all of our minds as it gets ready for auction at Christie’s in NYC.
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