Nude Madonna photograph goes for $37,500 at auction


A photo of a nude 20-year-old Madonna has been purchased by an anonymous European buyer for $37,500 in an auction at Christie’s. The picture was taken in 1979 when Madonna was just a poor, unemployed wannabe, and she was only paid $25 for the shoot. Though the photograph was only expected to sell for about $15,000, it has set a record price for pictures of the singer. The previous record was a photograph of the cover of her record, “True Blue,” which went for $15,000. The Christie’s auction was from the collection of Leon and Michaela Constantiner, and contained fashion and and celebrity images. Another photograph in the collection, featuring Madonna, went for $18,500.

Madonna, then known as Madonna Louise Ciccone, was a dancer trying to make ends meet when she answered a newspaper ad seeking a nude model. She may have earned as little as $25 for the 1979 photo session.

Lee Friedlander’s raw, explicit black-and-white image appeared in Playboy in 1985. Friedlander has said of the photo session that Madonna “seemed very confident, a street-wise girl. She told me she was putting a band together but half the kids that age are doing that. She was a good professional model.”

The photograph auctioned Thursday was one of six from that shoot that appeared in Playboy; the other five pictures were sold together in 2003 for $7,170.

A Herb Ritts photo of Madonna’s “True Blue” album cover, which sold for more than $15,000 in 2006, is the most expensive photograph of the singer to sell previously at auction, Christie’s said.

Another photograph of Madonna, by Helmut Newton, sold Thursday for $18,750, beating a $15,000 estimate. In that shot, also sold to Playboy in the 1980s, Madonna sports lingerie, curly blond hair and a seductive expression. A man kneels beside her.

[from Yahoo!]

It really is difficult to imagine Madonna as a young, inexperienced entertainer, though from the article, it sounds like she was always ready for fame. But wow – $37,500. It’s amazing to think how much people are willing to spend on pictures of celebrities. Tabloids are willing to pay millions for first looks at Brangelina’s children, though they’re expecting get most of that back through magazine sales. This “anonymous European buyer,” though, has purchased this photograph of Madonna just because it’s art. Or just because he has a thing for Madonna.

I’ve actually been to a NYC Christie’s auction because my family was selling some of my grandfather’s collections, and they’re really interesting. Bidding wars between potential purchasers are fun to watch, and I bet there was quite the purchasing competition with this photo. It got from below $15,000 all the way to $37,500 – that must have been some stiff bidding.

Wonder what Madonna will think when she finds out that her $37,500 photograph was topped by pictures of nude models in French and Italian Vogue, which sold for $242,500.

Here’s Madonna entering the Kabbalah Centre in NYC on Tuesday. Images thanks to Fame.

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19 Responses to “Nude Madonna photograph goes for $37,500 at auction”

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  1. Baholicious says:

    A fool and his money are soon parted.

  2. Lesley says:

    Ah, back when she didn’t trim the bush. That’s a lot of money to spend to look at pubic hair.

  3. barneslr says:

    Probably some wise person who figured they should buy it and burn it before anyone is blinded by the horror of it all…

  4. Feebee says:

    Wasn’t her coffee table book $50? Some sucker’s just overspent by $37,450.

  5. Annie says:

    *Throws up*

  6. daisy424 says:

    Trim? The woman needs a weed whacker.

    Wax, wax, wax!

  7. Chris says:

    I am not surprised at the $37500 price tag

    Lee Friedlander is an important American photographer with work in major museum collections including Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, National Gallery of Art, Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris, France), Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK) and this only the start of a list. Friedlander prints often sell beyond their auction estimates; newer images with fairly large editions start around $7500

    Lee Friedlander “Nudes” is out of print and a 1996 paperback will set you back $75

  8. Orangejulius says:

    I would pay that much NOT to see the picture.

  9. santacruz says:

    Perhaps Madonna had a representative buy the photos on her behalf…who would pay such an amount for something we all get see for nothing???????

  10. David says:

    My lord, yes that comment about a fool and his money. The picture is all over the internet, at any celeb nude site. She looked like she was wasted. Hairy legs and under arms. You look at it once, you won’t believe it or want look at it again.

  11. Jaclyn says:

    Anyone have a link to this picture? I’d like to see it.

  12. vdantev says:

    I’d buy just to burn it.

  13. geronimo says:

    I like the photo, it’s an interesting shot, very nicely lit, skin tone is beautiful. Are people put off it because it’s Madge?

  14. tigerlille says:

    I like the photograph too. It’s so childish to complain about pubic hair.

  15. Mark says:

    I’d pay $37,500 to make Madonna go away.

  16. kate says:

    i thought that header photo was michael jackson!

  17. The issue would have deserved a few more comments

  18. madge fan says:

    LOSERS on here slamming Madonna who has more brains in one of her public hairs than all you losers put together. Madonna is a zillionaire while you losers sit around trying to figure how to pay your internet bill. Maybe some of you halfwits should be shaving your heads and let a litle sunshine hit your brain (?) instead of trying not to fall off the toilet seat while shaving your public area and wishing you were Madonna. Grow up !!!!!!