Nude Bruni photo sells for $91,000 in NY auction

Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:55pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A nude photo of French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, standing in a pigeon-toed pose and covering her modesty with her hands, was sold on Thursday in New York for $91,000, more than 20 times its expected price.

A buyer for a Chinese art collector bought the black-and-white image, taken by photographer Michel Comte in 1993 during her modeling days, Christie's auction house said.

The sale of the photo has attracted attention since Bruni married French President Nicolas Sarkozy in February.

The photo had been expected to fetch between $3,000 and $4,000. It was auctioned as part of a sale of 140 photos from German collector Gert Elfering, which also features work by Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and Peter Beard.

An Avedon portrait of 1950s and 1960s French screen siren Brigitte Bardot sold for $181,000. It had been expected to garner between $80,000 and $120,000.

(Reporting by Karen Brettell and Brendan McDermid; Editing by Michelle Nichols and Xavier Briand)

<p>French President Nicholas Sarkozy (R) and first lady Carla Bruni smile during a wreath laying ceremony at the statue of General de Gaulle in Carlton Gardens, London March 27, 2008. REUTERS/Darren Staples</p>