January 19, 2009

Naked 1979 Madonna photo up for sale

A naked, pre-fame photo of pop star Madonna is expected to sell for as much as $15,000 when it hits the auction block in New York next month, the BBC said.

Christie's auction house said the black and white picture, which was taken after Madonna responded to U.S. photographer Lee Friedlander's newspaper ad seeking models, has been valued at between $10,000 and $15,000. The singer, who is now 50, reportedly was paid $25 for modeling for the photo three decades ago.

Matthieu Humery, head of Christie's photography department, told the BBC the photo being sold at the Feb. 12 auction was probably the most explicit Friedlander took of the future recording star.

For Friedlander, it is a very typical way of taking pictures of a woman, Humery added. He likes very natural women. There's not a hint of glamorizing. That's what makes it powerful.

A later photo by Helmut Newton and featuring Madonna wearing a short red dress is also up for auction and estimated to fetch a similar price, the BBC said.