After generating a great deal of interest online, the controversial portrait drawn by John Currin’s hasn’t earned as much during a record-selling auction at Christie’s as was expected from it.
Currin’s controversial topless portrait of Bea Arthur has fetched about $1.9 million and made a record Christie’s auction by being part of a bulk 70 lots auction filling Christie’s purse with $495 million.
Even though heavy interest was seen in the artwork online in what is considered popular as Dorothy from the Golden Girls, the sale of Arthur painting didn’t met expectations. Experts have projected the painting to go for as much as $2.5 million. The identity of the bidder is secret till now and the information has not been made public as to who acquired the 1991 work titled “Bea Arthur Naked,” at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Sale in New York City.
“Anonymous bids are frequent in the art world — and it was a busy night at Christie’s, with the biggest sales of any night of auctioning, ever — but this person didn’t even bother to show up,” writes Alexander Abad-Santos of The Atlantic Wire. “Were they embarrassed? Or so excited for some nostalgic living room nudity that they had to call in from afar?”
Another record was broken by the late legendary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Dustheads, circa 1982, which was sold at $48 million to Warner Music Group tycoon Len Blavatnik, according to GalleristNY.
Currin polarizing artwork has met with both admiration and outrage, “made a small stir with his commercial-gallery debut, in 1992, which featured acrid fantasy portraits of menopausal women — images suspended, in his words, ‘between the object of desire and the object of loathing,’ ” wrote Peter Schjeldahl in The New Yorker circa 2003. Currin is repped by the Gagosian Gallery.