Nude Madonna Still Commands Big Bucks

Raunchy photos of a Madonna may be easy to get nowadays, but a photo of from when she was like a virgin is getting a lot of buzz.

An anonymous European purchased a full-frontal, nude photo of a 20-year-old Madonna for $37,500 at a Christie's auction. The price set a record for a photograph of the material girl, and had many people scratching their heads because nude photos of Madonna are easy to come by.

But at the time of this photo Madonna still went by Madonna Louise Ciccone and she hadn't broke onto the pop scene yet. In 1979 she was a just broke dancer who answered a newspaper ad seeking a nude model.

The pic, a black and white taken by Lee Friedlander already 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 $37,500 pic was one of six from the Friedlander 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.

The Madonna photos were among 150 images, by some of the biggest names in photography, auctioned from the collection of Leon and Michaela Constantiner. They feature fashion and other celebrity icons.

The sale fetched more than $900,000 in all, including a top price of $242,500 for "Sie Kommen," Newton's images of nude models for the Italian and French versions of Vogue in the 1980s.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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