"Bea Arthur Naked" Sells for $1.9 Million; "Bea Arthur Clothed" Worth Even More.


Yesterday at Christie's auction house, John Currin's 1991 painting, "Bea Arthur Naked," sold for $1.9 million.

From the catalog copy, which dilates a bit on Currin's adolescent fixation on The Golden Girls sitcom:

Creating a bold statement, Currin chose to strip his unwilling sitter of her garb-in an act reminiscent of Francisco de Goya's La maja vestida and La maja desnuda. Causing a stir among the contemporary female community, Arthur herself surmised, "Maybe he was attracted to the feminist movement of the 1970s," Bea Arthur speculated regarding her portrait, "because of Maude, I was the Joan of Arc of feminism. He certainly couldn't have done anything with Marlo Thomas of That Girl"

Arthur, who died in 2009 at the age of 86, was very funny.

Hat tip: The Daily Beast (whose post on the painting got banned from Facebook).

Related: "Why Stuffed Sharks Cost So Damn Much: The driving formces behind the 'curious economics of contemporary art." (The short answer: "insecure rich people who want 'prove to the rest of the world that they really are rich.'")

For those of you who doubt just how transformative a change agent Bea Arthur could be, please read "The Golden Girls: How One TV Show Turned a Generation of Boys into Homosexuals."

Take a trip back to a time when Norman Lear ruled the airwaves and Maude was ruling the roost in Tuckahoe, New York, with one of the greatest theme songs in history:

NEXT: Dalai Lama to Visit New Orleans

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  1. $1.9 million? Seriously? That painting doesn’t even look very skillful to my (admittedly untrained) eye. Never mind that it’s supposed to be Bea Arthur.

    1. Well, you must admit, WTF, that the smile is more haunting than Mona Lisa’s.

      1. Yeah, it’s the smile… let’s go with that.

      2. If by ‘haunting’ you mean ‘likely to induce nightmares’, then yes, I see your point.

  2. Has anyone ever noticed just how long Gillespie’s torso is?

    1. I was going to say we could shine this image up into the sky to summon a certain person.

      1. Carroll O’Connor?

    1. We’re all gay now.


      1. I thought we were all communists now.

        1. Wait, you guys weren’t already gay communists (or gaymmunists) in disguise? Nothing makes sense here anymore.

  3. So glad I have images for this site blocked at work.

    1. Yeah. WTF is up with putting up a NSFW image as anything other than a link (with a NSFW tag)?

      1. Back in the early days of Urkobold, a post like that got us classified as an adult site. One image. And, I must say, it was far less offensive.

  4. Nothing quite like old sagging tits.

    1. I wonder who Currin got B. Arthur to sit for this bad boy.

  5. “Holy shit! I wouldn’t fuck you with Bea Arthur’s dick!”…

  6. You can almost hear Johnny Longtorso fapping from here…..

    Which is disgusting.

    1. I can type with one hand, thankfully.

  7. Gillespie, you bastard, some things can’t be unseen!

  8. NSFW guys.

    1. And most of the comments here are SFW? I stopped reading this place on my work computer years ago.

      1. Comments aren’t immediately visible from the next cube over.

        1. Maybe not, but they’re visible to your employer’s content scanner. Although I’m not sure that any content scanner short of military strength could survive “Bea Arthur Naked.” Is reason engaged in a covert campaign to destroy proxy servers?

          1. Lucky me – I manage the content filter here (Among other things) and if the hueristics haven’t blocked reason by now, I don’t think they will.

            (We don’t actually bother to check on what text is viewed online, just site reputation and category, blocking those that are ‘unsuitable or malicious’)

            1. blocking those that are ‘unsuitable or malicious’

              You let through those that are ‘unacceptable’?

              1. I do not actually set the policy, I only enforce it. That is what they pay me for. The overpriced appointees set the policy.

                1. Does your policy include keywords such as ‘Tea Party’ or ‘Patriot’? Are you just some low level functionary in the Cincinnati office?

            2. You know, our content filter here blocks anything to do with firearms or even knives, but it lets this Bea Arthur Naked abomination right through.

              1. I’d say that ‘strangely’ we have the same problem, but the people who set the internet policy were picked by die-hard anti-gun nuts like King Cuomo.

              2. “…our content filter here blocks anything to do with firearms…”

                Fuck them.

    2. No shit. Thank God I actually temporarily have my own office at the moment.

    3. We’re all very grateful for your warning. If any of the posters can time travel, I’m sure they’ll notify their past selves not to look at the post.

  9. Well, good morning everybody. I see Nick is being a dick again.

    1. It’s a close call but I would have to say that Good Times had a better theme song.

  10. I think you got the story wrong. Someone was probably paid 1.9 mil to make sure all copies of the painting and the original are destroyed, and the artist is castrated so that he cannot pass on his genetic material.

    This sounds more likely.

    And can I just say that despite some real laughs and a few memorable shows, Normal Lear set the tone for arrogant, liberal hectoring in TV sitcoms. Every episode was meant to teach America a lesson about how intolerant we were. Go back and watch ALL IN THE FAMILY NOW. The “intelligent” comments from Gloria and Mike are hilarious.

    The cure for this disease was Seinfeld.

    1. Absolutely right on Norman Lear. He’s almost as overrated at Norman Mailer or Norm Macdonald. Douches all.

    2. It was said that “Maude” didn’t last longer on TV because the character was too much like the producers.

    3. I disagree. The first few episodes of AITF were great. Unfortunately Lear couldn’t keep his lecturing out and it rapidly disintegrated.

  11. I know it’s on a site called “Christwire”, but if I didn’t know better, I’d think that article was a joke.

    1. It’s satire, and they have some hilarious articles.…..ans-lungs/

  12. Okay, that almost got me in trouble when that image popped up as the first entry on the blog. Some warning would have been nice.

  13. This exists.

    1. Real porn, or a “porn” satire of the Golden Girls? I know which one it probably is, but I’m still holding onto some hope and faith in humanity here. It’s ok to kill though, go right ahead.

      1. *kill it

        1. Sure you meant that.

      2. Real porn, or a “porn” satire of the Golden Girls?

        It’s both. It’s from a whole series. Have you seen the Star Trek one? The sets and the uniforms are pitch perfect!

        1. there’s a neat doco on porn parodies – some have surprisingly high production values. Some Swedish dude did Apocalypse Climax starring his ex-wife as Kurtz which looked pretty good.

          “You don’t have the right to judge me. You have the right to fuck me. But you don’t have the right to judge me”

          It also featured a woman who made a porn parody tribute to David Lynch, which was… odd

    2. Good God HM, how would you even know that?

      Never mind, I dont want to know.

    3. Rule 34.

  14. Thanks, Nick. Here I am settling down with a bowl of Froot Loops (is that still legal?) and I have to see this? I don’t know what’s worse, the painting or that someone paid 1.9 for that.

    Who’s next? Betty White?

    Title of painting: Heeeeeere’s Maude!

    /Homer scream.

  15. OT but someone seems pissed at the IRS:


      1. I have a Japanese pressing of that – not that anyone cares.

    1. This already showed up in 24/7.

  16. the gogglez do nuthink.

      1. God that scene. Too much.

  17. I wonder what the Estelle Getty would go for?

  18. Those are some comments in the threads. Apologists for the IRS. Amazing. Speaking of apologists, where’s Tony. The IRS needs some defense!

    1. The IRS’ defence is a strong offense. It needs no appologists.

  19. 40 comments and no tedious John/Sarcasmic discussion of who would bang Bea Arthur? My faith in Hit and Run is growing.

    1. I don’t think either one of them are into geriatrics – although Sarc probably would happily bang Kate Moss when she turns 70. Or any other age, for that matter.

      1. I read that as Carrie Ann Moss for some reason.

      2. When she turns 70, I’ll be 71. So yeah. I would.

    2. Too skinny for John. Too old for sarc. Nothing to argue about.

    3. As a Team John guy, I was interested in seeing this discussion too.

      1. As a Team John guy

        For your fapping pleasure.…..dvert.html

      2. As a Team John guy

        I would like to formally disassociate myself with any sort of “Team Sarc”

  20. Ok, I’m gonna hijack here mostly because the opportunity may never arise. Serious question: Which cartoon is more referenced and used as a metaphor for life – The Simpsons or Loony Tunes? Throw in the The Flintstones if you want. Just the other day I made a reference to Peal Slaghoople to roaring giggles.

    1. Moon pie…What a time to be alive!

    2. Ricochet Rabbit? No, Magilla Gorilla. Yes, that’s the one.

      Or, or….Starblazers?

    3. No…wait…Gigantor?

  21. Pearl.

      1. that’s not jewelry she’s talkin bout.
        it really don;t cost that much

  22. This price could only happen because of the FED and its money expansion policy.

    Helicopter Ben is probably the one who paid for the painting. Its going to be on the next $100 bill.

  23. This is the way to start your day: exposure to the unbearably erotic.

    I wish Maude would have had my abortion.

    1. paging Dr. Gosnell.

  24. I think my favorite Golden Girls episode is the one where Dorothy has an abortion. Really touching.

  25. I am no prude, and if someone wants to paint Bea nude, thats fine with me. I acknowledge that it has artistic value, and value as social commentary. However, if I had gone all day without seeing this painting it would have been just fine with me.

    1. Bea’s just proud she’s (evidently) dropped a couple of hundred pounds.

  26. Still sexier than Rue McClanahan’s strip tease in “Hollywood After Dark.” I do like that on my face book page, where this article shows up because I’ve liked REASON, her breasts have black stars over the nipples. It makes her look like she’s had a wardrobe malfunction.

  27. MY EYES!!!! IT BURNS!!!

  28. I’ll be in my bunk.

  29. Creating a bold statement, Currin chose to strip his unwilling sitter of her garb-in an act reminiscent of Francisco de Goya’s La maja vestida and La maja desnuda.

    “Reminiscent” only because both models had their respective portraits done in the buff and clothed. But there’s no denial that even with hairy armpits and possibly not very much in the way of personal hygiene (by today’s standards), La Maja (the lady) was much, MUCH more attractive than someone who looks like the sister of a certain woman killed by a falling house from Kansas.

  30. Any nostalgia aside, was “Maude” really all that good? I watched a few episodes recently and the writing was so very thin. The lack of any continuity was irksome.

    1. The lack of any continuity was irksome.

      Seriously? Pretty much no one gave a shit about continuity until about 20 years ago when it became possible to easily see old tv episodes.

  31. There’s the problem with large breasts. The bigger they are, the farther they fall.

  32. Where did Deadpool get 1.9 million bucks?

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