Art

05.14.13

'Bea Arthur Naked' Could Sell for $2.5 Million

How big of a 'Golden Girls' fan are you? On Wednesday, Christie's is auctioning John Currin's famous 1991 painting 'Bea Arthur Naked.'
Bea Arthur Naked
John Currin (B. 1962), Bea Arthur Naked, oil on canvas, painted in 1991. Estimate: $1,800,000 – $2,500,000. (John Currin/Christie's)

Over 20 years after its debut, the fact that John Currin's 1991 painting Bea Arthur Naked still stirs up buzz is a testament both to the painting's smart and provacative wink at a feminist icon and to Bea Arthur's lasting legacy. Much like the characters the actress played, the painting is dignified and yet irreverent. It is also a reminder of Currin's early Nineties work that led him to be labeled as a misogynist -- and which caused Village Voice art critic Kim Levin to ask readers to "boycott this show." The painting is part of Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art auction on Wednesday May 15, and is expected to go for between $1.8-2.5 million.