A nude photo of French first lady Carla Bruni has been sold Thursday, April 10 at Christie's auction house in New York for US$91,000 (45,000 pound sterling). The portrait, shows the former model standing bare-breasted with her hands crossed in front of her lap to cover her modesty, was sold to a representative of a Chinese collector. As for the pose, it apparently is a reference to a painting by 19th century French artist Georges Seurat.
Bruni's black-and-white nude image was taken by photographer Michel Comte in 1993, when the beauty was one of the world's most sought-after models long before she met and wed French president Nicolas Sarkozy. The photo was expected to sell for between US$3,000 and US$4,000, the auction house said.
"There was a lot of media interest in the print, and clients responded accordingly," Christie's spokeswoman Milena Sales explained, adding that bids came in by telephone and over the Internet.
Bruni's 13-by-10-inch photo was sold as part of a selection of photographs auctioned by German collector Gert Elfering that also included nude photos of models Lauren Hutton, Gisele Bundchen and Kate Moss. A portrait of 50s and 60s French screen siren Brigitte Bardot also sold well above expectations, when a buyer paid US$181,000 for the image. It had been expected to sell for between US$80,000 and US$120,000.
Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Swiss charity Sodis, which provides clean drinking water to developing nations, Christie's said.
At the end of 2007, Bruni was reported to be in a relationship with French president Nicolas Sarkozy after they were snapped by photographers visiting Disneyland Resort Paris. They, as well, were also snapped together during a vacation in Luxor, Egypt and Petra, Jordan during the Christmas holidays.
President Sarkozy confirmed their relationship during a press conference at Elysee Palace on January 8, 2008 and hinted at a possible wedding. The couple then married on February 2 at the Elysee Palace in Paris. The marriage is Bruni's first and Sarkozy's third.