Nude Harper painting sells for $5,000 0
Artist Maggie Sutherland sits in front of her painting Emperor Haute Couture, a nude portrait of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, May 18, 2012. The painting is hanging in the Kingston Public Library. (Elliot Ferguson/QMI Agency)
KINGSTON, ONT. -- The nude painting of Prime Minister Stephen Harper by Kingston artist Maggie Sutherland sold for its asking price on the weekend.
The painting, Emperor Haute Couture, depicted a naked Harper reclining on a chaise lounge. Behind him is a row of men, and one woman, in suits.
Sutherland's painting, a recreation of Manet's 1863 painting Olympia. sold for $5,000.
The painting was the centre of a brief media storm late last week with newspapers, television stations and magazines asking about it.
Sutherland said she and her art dealer fielded inquiries from as far away as South Africa and the painting was even the subject of a report by CNN's Erin Burnett.
“I think it was almost a perfect storm in terms of timing and media coverage,” Sutherland said Tuesday.
“Probably they picked it up because Harper was meeting with Obama.”
Harper was in Chicago on the weekend attending a NATO summit.
Sutherland said the winning offer was the first full asking price bid her dealer received.
“My dealer is too classy to engage in a bidding war. Unfortunately, this is not the real estate market,” she joked.
Interest in Sutherland's painting was so great on the weekend that her website crashed.
By Tuesday, Sutherland was back in her studio.
When asked what she would do to top the interest in Emperor Haute Couture, Sutherland said her next work would not be as controversial.
“Although I'm not a good judge anymore of what ticks people off.”