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Bea Arthur naked painting sells for $1.9 million at auction

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NEW YORK (AP) - A painting of actress Bea Arthur topless has sold for $1.9 million at a New York City auction.

The painting depicts the actress nude from the waist up. Photo: Christie's Auction House

The painting is by artist John Currin and is titled "Bea Arthur Naked." It sold at Christie's auction of postwar and contemporary art on Wednesday. It had been expected to bring in between $1.8 million and $2.5 million.

Christie's hasn't said who bought it. The official selling price, according to Christie's, was $1,915,750.

"I thought about the personae of the middle-aged women that were pictured in this series, and I imagined them as being divorced and cast out, like harlequins wandering the beach," Currin said in a statement posted to christies.com. "I had a vision in my head of Bea Arthur, and I found a picture of her."

The 1991 oil painting depicts the late television actress nude from the waist up. Christie's said Thursday the image was based on a photograph of her with her clothes on.

Arthur gained fame for her Emmy Award-winning roles in "Maude" and "The Golden Girls" in the 1970s and '80s. She died of cancer in 2009 at age 86.

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