Christie's announce auction of naked Carla Bruni photo
Carla Bruni is reportedly fuming after auction house Christie's announced the sale of a nude photo of the French first lady on the eve of husband Nicolas Sarkozy's state visit to Britain.
It is rumoured the couple want to tame their racy, flash image as a couple, and Carla, in particular, wants to establish herself as a respectable figure the French can warm to.
The full-frontal photo, shot by Michael Comte in 1993, will go under the Hammer at Christie's in New York next month, and is expected to reach up to £2,000.
An aide to the 40-year-old former model said: 'Carla is very angry, not to say deeply upset, that a commercial organisation has chosen to release this print at such an important time.
'Her priority is to establish herself on the world stage as a first lady France can be proud of.'
The couple are due to arrive in the UK tomorrow for a two-day state visit, where they will meet with the Queen and Gordon Brown.
Today Christie's, founded in London in 1766 and which now boasts global auction sales of some £2.5 billion, defended its decision to put a nude image of a serving First Lady on sale.
Spokeswoman Milena Sales said that Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy was 'one of the most beautiful women in the world'. She added: 'It's a work of art. It was shot in 1993 when Miss Bruni was a model and it's a tasteful nude portrait executed by a well known, respectable artist.
'Christie's stands by the works it represents to its clients, it doesn't censor or pass judgement on any content or subject matter. It's a perfectly respectable work of art.'
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