Stephen Colbert sells his portrait to benefit the arts

Fri Feb 4, 2011 12:11pm EST
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Political satirist Stephen Colbert is selling himself, but it is all for the children.

The host of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," a popular program that mocks self-important pundits, will auction off "Portrait 5, Stephen(s)" next month.

This "noted work of portraiture attributed to the host," Comedy Central said on Friday, was "enhanced by the artistic contributions of Shepard Fairey who spray-painted it, Andres Serrano who Sharpie'd it, and Frank Stella who glanced at it."

"Turns out I'm an artist," said Colbert, staying in character, in a news release. "That finally explains why I cut off my ear."

He went on to thank the prestigious auction house Phillips de Pury & Company, where the portrait will hit the block on March 8 at its "Under the Influence" auction of contemporary art, photographs and design.

"I am honored to be sold in the prestigious manner usually reserved for foreclosed homes and champion hogs," he said.

The portrait, in which Colbert stands saluting in front of several more images of himself, was first shown on a December 8 episode of "The Colbert Report" during an interview with comedian Steve Martin, a noted art collector who was discussing his book "An Object of Beauty."

Stella, an artist whose works have sold for millions of dollars, declared the portrait a work of art. Fairey subsequently spray painted "OBEY" on the canvas in large letters, and provocative artist Serrano used a Sharpie to add horns and a mustache to Colbert's stern visage.   Continued...