New York – After 22 years of being hidden from public view, a nude painting of Bea Arthur was sold at auction for $1.9 million. The painting was expected to go for $2.5 million, but a contagious fit of vomiting erupted on the bidding floor when the painting was unveiled, allowing a single anonymous phone bidder to nab the painting at a bargain price. Painted by John Currin, the portrait was a part of Currin’s “acrid fantasy portraits of menopausal women” series, which includes nude portraits of Barbera Walters straddling a white horse, Judi Dench spread eagle in a field of wheat and a photorealistic close up of Joan rivers’ face.
Anna Dempsey an art critic from The New Yorker described the work as, “one of the most provocative paintings of an old, enormous and unattractive woman. It’s inspired by its very disdain for beauty.” It’s expected that Currin’s other works will be up for auction later this year, revealing the full atrocity of his nude series. Following the days unfortunate group retching, all future bids on Currin’s painting will be by phone only.